Breaking News

Finance Minister Urged to Tax Tobacco to Stimulate Economy

Finance Minister Urged to Tax Tobacco to Stimulate Economy

The economic challenges facing Pakistan, including depleted reserves and high inflation, have prompted experts and anti-tobacco activists to propose increasing tobacco taxation as a potential solution. Muhammad Aurangzeb’s appointment as the new finance minister has been welcomed by organizations like the Society for the Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC), which urges him to consider tobacco taxation to address fiscal pressures and advance public health goals.


SPARC advocates for higher taxes on cigarettes, aligning with the recommendations of health activists. According to Rabia Syed, Director of IBC, a 26% increase in cigarette taxes could generate an additional Rs 17 billion in revenue while discouraging tobacco consumption, in line with WHO guidelines. Pakistan ranks among the top tobacco-consuming countries globally, with significant implications for public health and the economy, particularly in terms of healthcare costs associated with smoking-induced non-communicable diseases.

Also Read: FBR and Karandaaz Pakistan Sign Agreement for Tax System Digitization, Following Prime Minister’s Directive

Malik Imran Ahmad, the country head of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), underscores the urgency of addressing tobacco consumption, which affects approximately 31.9 million adults in Pakistan. He emphasizes the strain on healthcare resources and the need for measures like increased tobacco taxation to mitigate economic burdens and protect public health. Dr. Khalil Ahmad, program manager at SPARC, highlights the affordability of cigarettes as a factor driving youth initiation into smoking, further underscoring the economic costs associated with smoking-related illnesses and deaths.