Himachal Voluntary Health Association for higher taxes on tobacco products

Shimla: With Himachal having a higher percent of tobacco product users than Chandigarh, Punjab and Delhi, Himachal Pradesh Voluntary Health Association (HPVHA), a NGO that has been in the forefront of the anti-tobacco campaign, says that increase in taxes does help to bring down number of smokers.

Welcoming the government decision to increase VAT on all tobacco products to 16%, Narender Sharma Executive Director HPVHA said that a Global Adult Tobacco Survey India 2009-10 showed up that about 21% population (12,76,222 persons) in Himachal were using tobacco products in one or other forms.

The state governments’ decision to impose uniform taxation, i.e. 16% on all the tobacco products which include cigarettes, cheroots, cigars, bidis and other oral tobacco products would not only help to VAT realizations by as much as Rs 2.59 crores.

On bidi’s alone were the tax applied was only 4%, the increase would help the exchequer to net additional Rs 1.94 crore revenues. The annual bidi business in Himachal was about an Rs 16.21 crores, said Sharma.

Various research papers have proved that an increase in taxes on tobacco products has impacted the number of users. An increase of 10% in tax makes about 3% of cigarette smokers and 9% of bidi smokers to quit smoking,” claimed Sharma.

With lesser number of tobacco users, government would have to incur lesser expenditure for treating tobacco related diseases, he added.

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