“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” — Mark Twain
Cigarette packs are likely to get expensive as the government has reportedly decided to impose an additional tax on tobacco and spend the money collected through it to the health sector. According to various media reports, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government wants to cut the number of smokers in the country. Five to ten percent “sin tax” will be imposed on each pack of cigarette, as per sources.
While “sin tax” is a globally recognized term for the duty imposed on products harmful to society, many people are criticizing the administration for using this term. There is also a famous Indian song that fits the phrase used to describe this tax: “Thodi si jo pee li hai, Chori tou nahin ki hai” (I have drunk a little but I have not stolen something).
On the other hand, many people are appreciating this decision. There is no doubt that a person addicted to smoking risks his life on a daily basis. He becomes vulnerable to different kinds of diseases, which are very dangerous to health and sometimes even cause death. But, we should also keep in mind that there are financial costs also associated with this addiction.
It is very common for a smoker to ingest 1.5 packs of cigarettes every day. It means a person wastes a great amount of his salary on cigarettes. Aside from this, it is also important to note that smoking puts a great pressure on your budget. You might be unknowingly paying out more for cigarettes than you do for your daily meals. If you try to calculate the total amount you spend on buying the cigarettes, you would be surprised. There are numerous other things you could do with the cash you spend on smoking. For example, you could donate it to a needy person, or buy something healthy for yourself. You could use this amount on something useful or to even buy the ticket to your favorite movie. Most importantly, you could start saving the cash for it to be used at the time of financial problems.
In our society, it is very common for people to start smoking at a very young age. Unfortunately, we are living in a society where many children start consuming cigarettes instead of buying chocolates. Once a person is addicted to smoking, it becomes very difficult for him to get rid of this habit. As a result, a person starts getting older at a faster rate. The wrinkles and pale skin starts eclipsing the innocence of his face.
Furthermore, you can also observe that the teeth of chain-smokers are not very attractive. The yellow color of their teeth becomes visible once they start talking to you.
Although it is not illegal to consume cigarettes in Pakistan, the sale of loose cigarettes is not allowed by the authorities. The ban was imposed to keep the children away from cigarettes. But despite this move, we have not seen any significant decline in the sale of cigarettes. According to a report, around 25 million people in Pakistan are addicted to smoking and most of them are young. 46 percent of smokers are male while around 5 percent are female. It is important to mention here that men don’t give up on smoking easily.
Cancer is the most deadly illness caused by smoking. The treatment of this disease is very costly and yet the people who are financially not very strong appear to be adopting the habit of smoking faster than the people who are wealthy.
If the price of a cigarette is increased, it is very likely that many smokers would stop buying cigarettes. But, we should also keep in mind that a person who is addicted to smoking will try his best to satisfy his craving. Possibly, a decrease will occur in the growing number of people who adopt this habit; but, those who have already become addicted to tobacco will try to find the alternate routes. For example, there is a chance that people will start buying cheaper cigarette brands. There are many multinational cigarette brands available in Pakistan that are already very expensive. But, on the other hand, there are companies that are offering the tobacco at a low price. So, we can say that the government’s move to increase the tax on cigarette packs will not affect those who are badly addicted to smoking.
The need of the hour is to provide employment opportunities to the youth, homes to the poor, and to solve other issues that surround our society and that make people depressed. As a consequence of anxiety, people start smoking to relieve their stress. They smoke because they believe there is nothing in their life worth living for. So, if the government is really serious in taking the steps to eliminate smoking from Pakistan, it should also focus on the question that why at first place people adopt this hazardous habit?