A human chain was formed on a virtual platform on Sunday, demanding that the government increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products to protect the young generation from harms.
Participants from different parts of the country joined the event by uploading their pictures with festoons and placards on Facebook to press home the demand, using #RaiseTaxSaveLivesBD hashtags.
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The event was organised by an anti-tobacco advocacy organisation, PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), with support from Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids (CTFK), said a release.
In the function, the enhancement of the prices of tobacco products was demanded through imposing specific supplementary duties in the upcoming FY 2022-23 National Budget.
The anti-tobacco organisations demand that the retail price for the low-tier cigarettes should be set at BDT 50 for 10 sticks by imposing BDT 32.50 as specific supplementary duty (SD) in the next national budget.
The retail price of the medium tier cigarettes should be set at BDT 75 for 10 sticks with BDT 48.75 supplementary duty and that of the high-tier cigarette at BDT 120 with BDT 78.00 SD and the premium tier at BDT 150 with BDT 97.50 SD.
If the tobacco prices are raised at the suggested rates, it would encourage 1.3 million adults to refrain from smoking, to prevent the premature deaths of 4.45 lakh adults and 4.48 lakh youths in the long run, and help the government to earn additional revenue of BDT 9,200 crore.
Besides, the anti-tobacco organisations demand the retail price of non-filtered bidis should be increased at BDT 25 for 25 sticks with BDT 11.25 as specific supplementary duty.
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In case of smokeless tobacco products, the retail prices for 10 grams of jarda should be raised to BDT 45 with BDT 27 as 60 percent supplementary duty. For 10 grams of gul, the retail price should be enhanced to BDT 25 with BDT 15 as specific supplementary duty.
“Increasing tobacco products’ prices by imposing specific supplementary duties would raise government revenues and reduce tobacco-related deaths and losses,” said PROGGA Executive Director ABM Zubair.