Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved a plan to increase taxes on the cigarette manufacturing industry in the upcoming budget for 2019-20 in a bid to enhance revenue collection and discourage its use.
But Have you ever wondered why Pakistani governments have anti-smoking movements, but none of them ban tobacco manufacturing?
The answer is obvious
The tobacco industry contributes significantly to the government budget of those countries manufacturing cigarettes. For ages, Tobacco companies in the world have been known for their mass manufacturing of cigarettes. Every year the world produces 6 million tons of cigarettes. The business profit is worth tens of billions of rupees.
In Pakistan, tobacco power is reflected through their contribution to the government budget, which is a crucial part of the development and survival of that country.
Therefore, Tobacco companies are untouchable since their “evil” impacts have reached deeply into the government. They lobby every government election, as well as support the government’s finances.
Politicians don’t dare to defy Tobacco companies because they do not want their political career to end prematurely.
The government just vaguely accuse the negative effects of cigarettes by printing some useless warning on the pack of cigarette, which no one pays attention to. It is ironic how most governments prohibit smoking in public but still allow cigarette manufacturing.
If calculated on a per-day basis, 177 million cigarettes per day were consumed in FY-14. According to the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey, 46 percent of men and 5.7 percent of women smoke tobacco.
In our youth, a High amount is addicted to tobacco smoking especially in Karachi. It has become a fashion for students to smoke Sheesha(Hookah) in Sheesha cafes. Recently, In the year 2019, Sheesha was banned all over Pakistan and Hookah lounge was closed down by the authorities but unfortunately, it's still open illegally and also there are some unregistered and unregulated cigarettes brands that conduct promotional activities, branding, and merchandising openly. These cigarettes are being sold at Rs25 to Rs30 for a pack. Thus, they are being cheaply offered for youngsters and low-income classes of society.
The State Bank's Statistical reports that Pakistanis smoked 64.48bn cigarettes in the year FY-14. The average price of a cigarette is considered Rs4 and the total price of 64.48bn cigarettes comes to an estimated Rs258bn. There are several smuggled cigarettes that find their way from Afghanistan whose landing port is in Karachi, Pakistan.
A “smoke-free” would seem like an impossible thing. If there is still hope for a world like that, you should start to quit cigarettes or simply to say no to cigarettes.