Program manager at Society for the Protection of the rights of the Child (SPARC) said Pakistan’s health system was inadequate, inefficient and expensive. Poor health conditions can be caused by a number of factors, including poverty, malnutrition, and unequal access to health facilities. Also Inadequate health care funding, and high population growth and child mortality. Increasing tobacco taxes can save lives and generate income.
Increasing tobacco taxes can save lives and generate income. SPARC is holding a virtual press conference in front of the budget to ask for more taxes on tobacco products in Pakistan. In addition, excise duty on tobacco products is very important to achieve the health goal of reducing tobacco consumption.
Khalil Ahmed also mentioned that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Tobacco use causes 8 million deaths worldwide each year. Nearly 80% of smokers living in low- and middle-income countries spending most of their income on tobacco products. In Pakistan, 166,000 people die every year due to tobacco use. The government should take steps to ensure the implementation of all relevant cigarette tax increase laws to increase its revenues. It will also reduce health care costs.
Moreover, According to the Pakistan Economic Survey (2005-06), the government spends 0.75 percent of GDP on the health sector to make the population healthier and stronger. By levying tobacco taxes, the government can generate sufficient funds to invest in the health sector.
Many associations have encouraged increase in Tobacco taxes
Malik Imran Ahmed, Head campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said that there has been no net increase in tobacco taxes since 2017. On the contrary, health spending has risen to 1.6% of GDP. Due to health costs for tobacco-related illnesses and lost productivity, tobacco use cost the economy PKR 615 billion. It has mentioned in PIDE report. In Pakistan in particular, taxes need to be increased to cover the health deficit.
Ch Sanaullah Ghuman, secretary general PANAH said health care has become a neglected sector in Pakistan. Increased incomes, reallocation of resources and reformulation of health strategies aimed at assisting more disadvantaged groups and improving the overall health structure are current demands. The country can greatly improve the living standards of the poor through better and consequent health policies.