6.6% girls out of 1200 children accustom to tobacco habit daily

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Islamabad, (Parliament Times) : Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized an online press briefing to discuss poverty and tobacco consumption in Pakistan.
While speaking of affordability and easy access of tobacco, Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Pakistan told media that the number of smokers has reached up to 29 million, and there is a high prevalence of smoking in children, daily 1200 children start smoking that includes 6.6 % of girls who are using tobacco products due to its affordability and easy access.
Laidback access to and the truncated prices of cigarettes and other tobacco products is a key reason why their use is so prevalent in the country. Government can cater to affordability by imposing taxes on tobacco, he said.
Khalil Ahmed, Program Manager SPARC told the media about the recommendation of WHO, that Govt. must raise Federal Excise Duty taxes to rupee 30 per packet to generate revenue. Raising tobacco taxes will prevent youth in Pakistan from starting to use tobacco and reduce use among those who have already started.
Tobacco taxation is a crucial element of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy. However, to fully realize the benefits, it is important to understand the impact of increased taxes among high-risk subpopulations, he said.
Mr. Shariq Mahmood Khan, CEO of Chromatic Trust, said that in Pakistan, the practice of smoking kills 170,000 people every year, while the cost of treatment for diseases caused by smoking and the subsequent damage costs the country millions of rupees.
Tobacco use levies enormous cost on gov and families, health cost due to tobacco-related diseases is Rs 615 Billion that is 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP. Taxation on tobacco should be increased to balance the health deficit, he requested.