ISLAMABAD    -    Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) would ensure the federal cabinet decision to impose ten rupee per pack ‘Health Tax’ on every packet of cigarettes along with increased Federal Excise Duty (FED).

The cabinet, in hits recent meeting, has taken this decision by approving the proposal floated the health ministry.

According to a statement issued by the health ministry here on Thursday, the decision had been taken in order to discourage cigarette smoking, increase revenues and save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs.

It also said that the levy of health tax on sugary drinks aims to discourage their excessive use to control the burden and complications of non-communicable diseases specifically diabetes.  The tax is proposed to be levied at the rate of one rupee per 250ml bottle. It also said that tobacco is the biggest killer causing death of around 160,189 persons in Pakistan every year. 

Almost 15.6 million adults currently smoke tobacco in the country whereas around 1200 Pakistani children between age of 6 and 15 start smoking every day.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication and Tobacco Control Babar Bin Atta in his social media message has said PM Special Assistant on NHS Zafar Mirza led from the front, and health ministry and finance ministry have agreed to introduce some of the most stringent anti-tobacco taxation reforms in the country.

Dr. Zafar Mirza termed the approval by the federal cabinet to his ministry’s proposal for levying of health tax on tobacco products and sugary drinks as unprecedented and historic.