ISLAMABAD: The Federal government has finally approved imposition of Health Tax on cigarettes and carbonated drinks in the budget for fiscal year 2019-20.
Focal Person to PM for tobacco control Babar Bin Atta has confirmed the government’s decision about health tax.
The federal government has approved imposition of tax of Rs 10 on a pack of 20 cigarettes.
The government has also approved Rs1 tax on a 250 milliliter bottle of carbonated drinks, the prime minister’s aide said.
The health tax will be announced in the federal budget for fiscal year 2019-20.
The revenues generated from the tax will be spent through the health card on poor masses of the country, the aide said.
It is first instance in the history of the country that a tax being imposed to discourage use of tobacco, Babar Atta said.
The health tax will generate an amount of Rs. 40-50 billion, the government aide said.
The government has taken a courageous decision and it could not be blackmailed by the merchants of death, the aide further said.
Earlier, the cabinet after discussing the health hazards posed by smoking had in principle decided to impose the tax on cigarettes and spending the revenues in the health sector.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister for National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza had in an earlier statement said that hike in cigarette prices is imperative to prevent children from tobacco smoking.
Over 15 million people in Pakistan use tobacco and around 1,60,000 people in the country died of the causes related to tobacco smoking, he said.
Tobacco use is a major cause of non-communicable diseases which include 15 types of cancers, health reports said.