News Desk |
The federal cabinet has approved a recommendation of the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations, banning the the sale of loose cigarettes across the country.
A spokesperson of the ministry said on Tuesday that vendors throughout the country will be prohibited from selling tobacco sticks from opened-up cigarette packets. “The ministry of national health had been striving to put a ban on sale of loose cigarettes for the last two years,” the statement further said.
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The decision was taken during a meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad.
In December 2016, the Senate’s Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination had recommended a ban on the sale of loose cigarettes by issuing a statutory regulatory order, a Senate panel recommended a ban on the sale of loose cigarettes by issuing a statutory regulatory order.
The committee also made several recommendations regarding bans on tobacco items and use of sheesha.
During a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination on Wednesday, two bills related with sheesha and prohibition of smoking were discussed. Chairing the meeting, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh directed that strict steps should be taken at all levels to control open sheesha smoking and discourage smokers.
Contributing to the exponentially rising cigarette sales, there is the illicit and ‘fake’ production that is on a boom and needs attention.
Besides sheesha, all other related types of smoking should also be completely banned, he said and asked for appropriate legislation in that regard. He appreciated the Punjab Governor for setting up task-force to stop sheesha in educational institutions. Senator Nauman Wazir said vice chancellors of all universities of the federal capital should be invited to attend the next meeting of the committee for evolving a proper strategy to control sheesha smoking in universities.
Contributing to the exponentially rising cigarette sales, there is the illicit and ‘fake’ production that is on a boom and needs attention. The Illicit share stood around 20 percent of overall cigarette sales (by volume) in 2011, a stake that had doubled by the middle of 2017, giving tough competition to the formal producers, Global Village Space earlier reported. But taking into consideration the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics Data, the formal-sector production is returning to its normal output level, which produces an average of 5 billion sticks a month for the last ten years.
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With that rate, production will be over 29 billion sticks in the second half of the fiscal year ‘18, obtaining a growth of 68 percent year-on-year. That quantum would have local cigarette production grow around 69 percent year-on-year for the full fiscal year, according to a business publication.
The rise in formal production is apparently coming at the expense of DNP brands. Years of FED-driven price hikes after every budget announcement had widened the price differential between legitimate brands and duty-evading brands.
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The formal cigarette production sector suffered a huge blow in the last fiscal year, when prominent players like Pakistan Tobacco and Philip Morris Pakistan lost a major chunk of their cigarette volumes, especially in the value-for-money (VFM) segment, to duty-evading brands. That translated into a significant reduction in government taxes from the formal sector.