KARACHI– Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) expressed grave concern regarding the reports disclosed by the State Bank of Pakistan, that shows a massive increase in the production of cigarettes, almost doubled; where as tax collection from the tobacco industry has gone down.
Secretary General, Pakistan Medical Association (Centre), Dr. SM Qaisar Sajjad stated that, the Ministry of National Health Services suggested Rs. 44 tax in the current year’s budget on each packet of cigarette to increase their prices, thus making it unaffordable for common men. The tobacco industry manipulated and reduced prices of certain brands to reach a lower tax slab, as low as Rs.16/pack, leading to an increased consumption of cigarettes.
PMA believes that usage of tobacco in any form is hazardous to health. Reportedly, 108,800 people die in Pakistan, due to tobacco consumption. It causes preventable diseases like Bronchitis, Coronary diseases, Diabetes, Hypertension, Atherosclerosis, Cancer, etc. “Prevention is better than cure”.
PMA strongly abides by the slogan, “Prevention is better than cure,” and suggested that prices of cigarettes should be increased, resulting in decrease in sale.
Dr. SM Qaisar further mentioned that, PMA has demanded that 80% of a cigarette packet should be covered with anti smoking pictorial warnings, and should not be sold to people under the age of 18. Under Smoking Prohibition Law 2002, smoking is prohibited in public places, but unfortunately, these laws are not being implemented properly.
In the light of the above mentioned facts, PMA has demanded the Federal Government to impose heavy taxes on cigarette packs and Anti-smoking laws should be implemented in letter and spirit.