A recent study has revealed that tobacco consumption is killing 160,000 people every year in Pakistan.
Dr. Nausheen Hamid revealed this while speaking at the launch of a report called “The Burden of Illicit Trade in Cigarettes in Islamabad.” The research report has been prepared by FFO – a think tank working on narcotics and tobacco control in the country.
Dr. Nausheen said that tobacco was one of the most preventable causes of death across the world, yet it is taking millions of lives.
“In the country alone, the yearly deaths caused by tobacco consumption are 160,000,” she said.
“The study reveals that Pakistan’s 23.9 million adult population uses tobacco in various forms,” she said, adding that the annual economic cost of smoking in Pakistan is as high as Rs. 143.208 billion.
She said the pilot study will help the government in coping with the burden of illicit trade of cigarettes in the federal capital and would also help with tobacco control in the country.
She said the first and foremost step towards this goal should be imposing heavy taxes, which will reduce the demand.
Dr. Nausheen also expressed satisfaction on the fact that the graph of the illicit trade of cigarettes in Islamabad was as low as 15.95 percent per day.
She revealed that the tobacco industry manipulates the statistics and lobbies for favorable tax structures arguing that the heavy taxes on tobacco will increase the illicit trade.
However, the burden of the illegal trade of cigarettes in Islamabad is half of what is quoted by the tobacco industry.
The report also busted the myth that an increase in cigarettes prices shifts the consumers to cheaper brands.
As per the study, 61 percent of smokers said they would either quit or reduce smoking if the price went out of their range.
Only 8 percent of smokers opted for cheaper cigarettes if the price was raised.