Pakistan approves ‘health tax’ on cigarettes

The federal government of Pakistan has approved increases to cigarette taxes along with a new tax on carbonated drinks. Both taxes are part of measures to improve population health. The new tax of Rs 10 per packet of cigarettes is due to be implemented in the 2019-2020 budget and is the first time that Pakistan has used taxes to try to reduce smoking rates in the country. The tax is hoped to reduce smoking among young people and children and is estimated to raise Rs 40-50bn in revenue. Over 15 million people use tobacco products in Pakistan and it is estimated to be the cause of 160,000 deaths every year.