Smoking and the economy

Published: December 13, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Tobacco smoking in Pakistan is legal, but under certain circumstances it is banned. Pakistan has the highest consumption of tobacco in South Asia. This habit is mostly in the young people. Smoking is harmful to health, but it is good for the economy.It increases government revenues that can be utilised to fund priority investments and programmes that benefit the entire population.

When tobacco taxes go up and cigarette prices rise, it is more likely for the poor to quit smoking because they will not be able to afford it. However local markets use cheap tobacco so that it can be sold to the masses. Is it a win-win situation for both health and economy? Higher taxes on tobacco products reduce tobacco consumption, while also increasing government revenues that can be used to fund priority investments and programmes.

Muhammad Seerat Nawaz

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2019.

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