The proposed budget will not help reduce tobacco use in the country and will further benefit tobacco companies when the government will lose a large amount of revenue, said anti-tobacco campaigners.
They expressed dissatisfaction that the proposed budget for FY2019-20 does not reflect their demand for reducing the number of tobacco price level categories from four to two, which they believe will discourage people to buy cigarettes.
The slightly increased prices of cigarettes will not make any strong influence to shrink the number of smokers. As the prices of cheaper cigarettes are almost unchanged, smokers of high-cost cigarettes might just shift to cheaper cigarettes instead of giving up, the campaigners said.
“Cigarette prices should be increased more along with the rise of people’s income. Moreover, all kinds of actions have to be taken in order to create awareness about the adverse effects of tobacco usage,” said Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation, in a press conference organised by PROGGA and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance.