Tobacco Control Activists Thank Government for Doubling the FED on Cigarettes

Health activists have expressed joy at the government’s decision to double the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes.

In a press release shared by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), health activists dubbed shared that this decision will go long way in solving Pakistan’s financial woes and recommended the government to remain steadfast on this decision against tobacco industry’s misinformation campaign.

Malik Imran, Country Head, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), expresses his gratitude by thanking the government for increasing FED after an SRO was released on 14 February 2023.

The SRO stated revised taxes on locally produced cigarettes, FED has doubled on cigarettes (16,500/- per 1,000 cigarettes if the initial price on the packaging exceeds 9,000 per 1000 cigarettes).

He mentioned that tobacco-induced diseases cause an annual economic burden of Rs. 615 billion, which is 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP. On the other hand, the revenue generated from the tobacco industry is Rs. 120 billion.

Therefore everyone must appreciate the government’s decision which is in the interest of Pakistan’s health and economy. Subsequently, the government needs to remain headstrong because, like on previous occasions, the tobacco industry will oppose this decision using false claims of illicit trade and counterfeit products. Listening to their lies will only push us back.

Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager SPARC said that the government couldn’t have made a better decision than doubling the FED on cigarettes.

The products of the tobacco industry are deadly and the harm caused by them should be paid for by the tobacco industry and not by the citizens. He mentioned that on average Pakistani smokers spend 10% of their monthly income on cigarettes. Therefore this increase will make cigarettes go out of reach of low-income citizens and children and thus saving them from its harm.

Khalil mentioned that this good step shouldn’t remain a one-time activity. Keeping World Health Organization’s recommendation in consideration, Pakistan should increase taxes at regular intervals so that inflation and per capita income are accounted for.