ISLAMABAD: Phillip Morris International (PMI) is reportedly lobbying in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and government circles to create a new third slab of taxes to make the cigarettes cheaper in Pakistan, Daily Times learnt on Wednesday. This would create serious health hazards and further popularise the fast growing trend of smoking, particularly among the schoolchildren. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), smoking has already increased by 30% in Pakistan as compared to figures in 1998. In a recent study by Pakistan Pediatrics Association, “Smoking is becoming fast popular even among schoolchildren in Pakistan.” In fact, statistics show approximately 1,000 to 1,200 teenage students are becoming smokers daily. WHO has recommended that there should be a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship which can alone decrease the consumption of tobacco by 7% provided all other tobacco control measures are kept constant. This ban has been imposed by the government but multinational companies always find new ways to advertise themselves. Current methods include spot advertisement/posters in shops and distribution of samples among the youth in popular public areas/outdoor restaurants. Pakistan has already ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, while the country is obligated to stop further spread of smoking, particularly among the schoolchildren. In view of the above facts, the cigarettes need to be made prohibitively expensive in Pakistan, and not cheaper at all.