Doctors call for tobacco tax

Doctors, economists, and public health groups are urging the government to raise excise duty on all tobacco products in the upcoming Union Budget 2024-25 to generate additional revenue. They emphasize the importance of health taxes on cigarettes, bidis, and smokeless tobacco to address the negative public health impact. Despite a minor increase in National Calamity Contingent Duties (NCCD) on cigarettes, the overall tax burden remains below recommended levels, with WHO suggesting at least 75% of the retail price for all tobacco products. Experts stress that increasing excise on tobacco is a crucial policy measure to both generate revenue and combat tobacco-related diseases, emphasizing its potential impact on reducing consumption and saving lives. The Parliament Standing Committee on Health has also highlighted the urgent need to raise taxes on tobacco products to address cancer prevention and awareness. India, with the second-largest number of tobacco users globally, faces significant health risks, with 13 lakh people dying annually from tobacco-related diseases.

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