‘There will be no place for merchants of death in Naya Pakistan’
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication and Tobacco Control Babar bin Atta said on Tuesday that the government is mulling anti-tobacco reforms in the country, adding that PM Imran Khan has already given a go-ahead with regard to the introduction of most stringent reforms to end the menace of smoking.
Taking to Twitter, Babar bin Atta informed that the ministries of health and finance are in favour of imposing most stringent anti-tobacco taxation reforms, saying there would be no place for ‘merchants of death’ in Naya Pakistan.
Earlier, while speaking in a knowledge & fact sharing session regarding effects of tobacco on health, the PM’s focal person called for strict vigilance on the sale of cigarettes in order to check the use of tobacco by children.
The session, organised by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), highlighted that Pakistan is one of the 15 countries worldwide with the heavy burden of tobacco-related health issues.
Around 1,000 to 1,200 Pakistani children aged between 6-15 years take up smoking every day, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) results of 2015.
Pakistan’s population consists of 60pc youth below the age of 25. The alarming statistics of young people getting addicted to tobacco calls for stringent tax reforms in the country.
“The worrisome aspect is the healthcare burden, which stands at Rs143 billion as compared to revenue generation of Rs83 billion,” Babar bin Atta pointed out.
SPARC Executive Director Sajjad Ahmad Cheema opined that minors get fascinated by the social and cultural habits. “Tobacco companies are targeting children and women so as to expand their future markets.