The Cost of Inaction: Implications of the Cigarette Tax Policy in Pakistan

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Pakistan is a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which requires the country to implement taxation and pricing policies on tobacco products to reduce their consumption. Effective tobacco taxation is considered the most effective means of reducing tobacco consumption and generating revenues for public health promotion. However, tobacco tax policies in Pakistan have not been able to achieve these objectives fully, and Pakistan remains a high-burden tobacco-use country where almost one in five adults (about 30 million individuals) use tobacco in some form.1 Consequently, the prevalence of tobacco-related diseases is high, and tobacco use is associated with more than 160,000 deaths every year in the country.2 In addition, tobacco use poses the substantial economic cost of tobaccoinduced diseases. A recent study3 has revealed that the health and economic costs of tobacco use are more than five times the tax receipts.