Despite hurdles and hinderances, HDF and its Partners succeed in enhancement of
Despite hurdles and hinderances, HDF and its Partners succeed in enhancement of tobacco taxation.
The prevalence of tobacco use influences our lives in two ways; a blow at our health and a loss to the economy. There is no ambiguity in the fact that smoking does kill! The economy also takes a beating in the shape of loosely regulated tobacco industry and above all, the second hand smokers become the victims of this menace, among which kids are most vulnerable.
Human Development Foundation (HDF) has been working tirelessly in social sector that include all the phases of Human Development with augmented focus on health. We consider it our prime responsibility to prevent people from the menace that has been created by tobacco.
HDF along with its partners (CTFK, PANAH and SPARC) have sensitized the Public, Academia, Parliamentarians and Media through several press conferences and meetings with influential people. Researches were conducted on illicit trade which were launched and an Alliance of Pakistan Civil Society for Tobacco Control (PCSA) was formed in all the provincial capitals of the country. This Citizen lead movements have been instrumental in generating momentum to this campaign and ultimately HDF along with the Partners managed to convince the policy makers and corridors of power which ultimately resulted in the removal of third tier taxes on tobacco product.
The success of the campaign by HDF and its partners against tobacco use has had such a positive impact at the policy making level that the government has increased FED on cigarettes and the removal of three tier taxation structure in its budget for the FY 2019-2020, this will help to generate 67 % more revenue as compared to FY 2018-18 . Efforts of the government of Pakistan are commendable, especially the undivided dedication of PM Imran Khan who himself is an advocate for tobacco control, Dr. Zafar Mirza advisor to PM on health and Mr. Babar Bin Atta who is the Focal Person for PM on tobacco control.
It is encouraging to see that the policymakers are now more conscious about the perils of tobacco use than ever before and we can now confidently anticipate further stringent taxation in shape of imposing health levy which was approved by the cabinet but has not been promulgated yet. Regularization of smokeless tobacco products, tracking and tracing of tobacco production companies and moving towards plain packaging are the issues that still need to be addressed to control tobacco and reduce number of deaths due to tobacco consumption.