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Consumers� body hails Central govt move on tobacco taxation

By City Correspondent

GUWAHATI, July 7 - The Consumers� Legal Protection Forum (CLPF) has lauded the ongoing efforts of the Government of India towards tobacco taxation and urged that such efforts need to be augmented to sustain the momentum to continue to achieve revenue and public health goals.

In a statement, the CLPF, while endorsing the government�s decision to include cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in the highest tax slab for its long-lasting impact on the lives of the country�s 268 million tobacco users, said this would provide a solid foundation for reducing tobacco use among the vulnerable population.

�Contrary to the claims made by the tobacco industry, the overall tax rate on all tobacco products in India is still very low compared to other middle-income countries. This encourages tobacco consumption. By categorising cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as demerit goods under GST and levying the highest GST rate of 28 per cent plus cess on these goods, the Government of India has prevented millions of youths from tobacco initiation and lifelong addiction. The GST Council must also impose a compensation cess on bidis like that on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as this is widely consumed by weaker section of society,� said Ajoy Hazarika, secretary of the CLPF, in the statement.

The CLPF asserted that tobacco use imposes enormous health and economic burden on the country. Each year, over one million Indians die from tobacco-related diseases in India. Higher prices will bring down the consumption drastically, the CLPF added.

Tobacco kills over 1.3 million people each year in India, which is the home to the second largest number of smokers in the world behind China. Besides, tens of millions use deadly smokeless tobacco products. Approximately 130 million people aged 15 years and above currently smoke in India and roughly half of all adults are exposed to second-hand smoke, the statement added.

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Consumers� body hails Central govt move on tobacco taxation

GUWAHATI, July 7 - The Consumers� Legal Protection Forum (CLPF) has lauded the ongoing efforts of the Government of India towards tobacco taxation and urged that such efforts need to be augmented to sustain the momentum to continue to achieve revenue and public health goals.

In a statement, the CLPF, while endorsing the government�s decision to include cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in the highest tax slab for its long-lasting impact on the lives of the country�s 268 million tobacco users, said this would provide a solid foundation for reducing tobacco use among the vulnerable population.

�Contrary to the claims made by the tobacco industry, the overall tax rate on all tobacco products in India is still very low compared to other middle-income countries. This encourages tobacco consumption. By categorising cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as demerit goods under GST and levying the highest GST rate of 28 per cent plus cess on these goods, the Government of India has prevented millions of youths from tobacco initiation and lifelong addiction. The GST Council must also impose a compensation cess on bidis like that on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as this is widely consumed by weaker section of society,� said Ajoy Hazarika, secretary of the CLPF, in the statement.

The CLPF asserted that tobacco use imposes enormous health and economic burden on the country. Each year, over one million Indians die from tobacco-related diseases in India. Higher prices will bring down the consumption drastically, the CLPF added.

Tobacco kills over 1.3 million people each year in India, which is the home to the second largest number of smokers in the world behind China. Besides, tens of millions use deadly smokeless tobacco products. Approximately 130 million people aged 15 years and above currently smoke in India and roughly half of all adults are exposed to second-hand smoke, the statement added.

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