Tobacco Consumption: A Menace for Youth and the Nation

ISLAMABAD – Members of Parliament have unanimously recognized tobacco consumption as a menace affecting both the youth and the nation. In a concerted effort to combat this issue, they emphasize the need to reduce tobacco consumption by implementing higher taxes on tobacco products. This consensus emerged during an event organized by the Human Development Foundation (HDF) and partner organizations. The gathering brought together policymakers, experts, activists, and stakeholders to discuss comprehensive approaches to address the widespread impact of tobacco use.

The Role of Price Increase

Chief Guest Member of the National Assembly, Shehla Raza, highlighted that increasing tobacco prices can effectively deter youth from using tobacco. By making tobacco products less affordable, we can protect the younger generation from falling into the trap of addiction. Raza called upon the entire nation and all stakeholders to take responsibility in discouraging tobacco consumption within society.

The Healthcare Burden

MP Neelson Azeem emphasized the urgent need for comprehensive measures to tackle tobacco consumption. Pakistan faces an alarming annual healthcare burden of approximately Rs615 billion due to tobacco-related illnesses. Azeem stressed that addressing this issue is not only crucial for public health but also for the economy.

The Power of Taxation

Expert Muhammad Sabir highlighted the benefits of increased tobacco taxation. Already, such measures have led to significant revenue growth, reaching Rs122 billion between July 2023 and January 2024. Tax hikes promise a win-win situation, benefiting both public health and government revenue.

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