The Citizen Health Initiative (CHI) has lauded the government and FBR’s relentless efforts to eradicate illicit cigarettes from the country by cracking down on retailers, aiming to create a smoke-free nation.
While commendable progress has been made in curbing retailers, there remains a pressing need to address the root cause – illegal cigarette manufacturers, responsible for the proliferation of the cigarettes.
However, he emphasized the importance of sustaining this momentum and extending it to target illegal cigarette market which has burgeoned rapidly since the imposition of taxes on legal cigarettes, undermining the government’s initial success in reducing cigarette consumption.
Despite the government’s efforts, the surge in illegal cigarette sales poses a dual challenge by not only diminishing government revenues but also straining the health budget. The spokesperson urges a balanced approach, highlighting the need for continued crackdowns on both retailers and manufacturers to achieve lasting results.
It is pertinent to mention that in a notable initiative to combat non-duty paid and counterfeit cigarettes, the FBR recently conducted 429 raids across the country, resulting in the seizure of approximately 16 million illicit cigarette sticks. This robust action signifies a crucial step towards eliminating the menace of illegal cigarettes and underscores the ongoing commitment to safeguard public health and government revenue.