Tobacco production and consumption

Time to impose high taxes

With the theme "Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use," the World No Tobacco Day 2020 was observed across the country on Sunday. 

The costs of smoking produce potential economic benefits for the government and the tobacco producer. While the economic activities generated from the production and consumption of tobacco produces huge tax revenues as well as employment opportunities in the tobacco industry, tobacco smoking poses enormous health- and non-health-related threats to the affected individuals, employers, and the society at large.

Given the dangers of tobacco, strategic steps should be taken to limit its production and consumption. In this regard, prices of tobacco products should be increased through implementing effective tobacco tax measures in the upcoming national budget. 

Prices of tobacco  products should be increased 

through implementing effective tobacco tax 

measures in the upcoming national budget

Price-based policy measures such as increase in tobacco taxes will unarguably be the most effective means of reducing the consumption of tobacco. If its price goes out of people’s purchasing capacity, the consumption will gradually reduce.

The financial loss in Bangladesh due to tobacco-relegated diseases and premature deaths is increasing day by day. Only the consumption of tobacco products is eating up Tk 30,570 crore annually, which is 1.4 per cent of GDP. Tobacco consumption, in any form, kills more than 161,000 people on an average every year.

It is high time to impose more taxes on the tobacco producing companies. If the existing taxes are revised and imposed properly, the government could earn an additional Tk 10,000 crore in revenue from the sector. In addition, around six million adult smokers will be encouraged to quit smoking if prices go up, which will reduce premature deaths. 

Also the government should increase funds for tobacco-related disease prevention programmes to assist people who want to quit smoking. Also a national tobacco control programme should be incorporated under the National Tobacco Control Cell to formulate and conduct awareness programmes, research on tobacco consumption, mass campaigns, and alternative livelihood programmes for tobacco cultivators.