ISLAMABAD: Conservative estimates by public health experts suggest that over 210,000 people die in Pakistan of the diseases related to smoking every year. Capital Calling, a network of academic researchers, public health and development professionals states that reports have shown that at least 35 million adults walk into death trap of smoking and one-fifth of these are unable to quit this habit. Capital Calling states that smoking is a leading cause of death the world over, adding that it backs the government’s decision to enforce taxes on tobacco. It states that the recent taxes enforced on smoking are actually too little too late. It adds that taxes put on cigarettes amount to much less than Rs615 billion (US$ 3.85 billion), which was the amount the country had to bear in 2019 on smoking related diseases and deaths. India, for example, has a similar number of smokers in Pakistan but collects six times revenue to that of Pakistan. Pakistan remains one of the countries with the lowest tax rates on cigarettes. Capital Calling says that Federal Excise Duty (FED) generates up to 80 percent of the revenue from domestically-produced cigarettes in the country. Dr Hassan Shehzad, from IIUI, says that for rich families, cigarettes are only a health hazard but for the poor it is an economic challenge as well as health, because the amount spent on tobacco can be used to buy food items. This directly leads to malnutrition for families living below the poverty line. Expressing dissatisfaction on this state of affairs, he states that Pakistan is one of the worst-performing countries in the Tobacconomics Cigarette Tax Scorecard that evaluates the strength of tax systems despite the recent tax increase. Currently the FED on the lower tier is $0.36 which is the lowest in the world. The tax on premium cigarettes is $1.17, which again is the lowest in the world. Currently the price of a premium cigarette in the market is $1.78, making it the cheapest even when compared to Sri Lanka where the price of a simile cigarette is $3.9. On a broader canvass, Capital Calling states that tobacco kills almost half of its regular consumers. Quitting smoking can save lives of up to 70 percent of smokers. The Capital Calling advocates for quitting smoking and making it inaccessible to the masses. According to estimates, imposing Federal Excise Duty (FED) has made cigarettes harder to access and it could ultimately save 360,000 lives across Pakistan. It is now near impossible for youth to buy costly cigarettes. Older estimates show that 1,500 children took to smoking on a daily basis in the country. After the increase in cigarette price, this number is expected to come down drastically. After the increase in FED, prices of cigarettes have gone up by 154 percent. Dr Shehzad says that had it not been because of pressure by the IMF, the government would never have put taxes on cigarettes.