The price hike on petrol has taken the life out of us. We are now trying to go for alternatives like cycles, donkey/bull carts or maybe walking to our offices. It has become a commodity just like gold. We might be looking for selling our cars as it has become a luxury to have a car. Interesting thing is that the government is not giving any relief on petrol, but they have decided to give tax relief on cigarettes. Well, that is so unfair. Trading health with it is not a smart decision. Does that mean we should start smoking to get petrol relief?
There has been a heavy tax on cigarettes, which meant a healthy move. Yet the tobacco companies have pressurized the government into giving billion rupees in tax relief. This decision was taken in the National Assembly, wish they had been a little quick in taking other important decisions as well.
According to the figures released, there was a tax from Rs 5,200 on 1,000 cigarettes to Rs 6,660. Dr Ziauddin, Country Lead on Tobacco Control, Vital Strategies said that taxation was enforced to control smoking and reverting back the decision means increasing the cost of illness (cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular disease).
According to Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), 31 million people are smokers. There are changes of 260, 000 people smoking in the next years if there is no seriousness regarding tobacco taxation. Due to low taxes on tobacco, Pakistan is ranked worst on Tobacconomics Cigarette Tax Scorecard.
It is better to give petrol relief rather than tobacco relief as it is ruining our generations. The poor household spends more on cigarettes rather than household goods. So, it is high time for the government to look into it.