The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized an online discussion to stress the need of increased taxation on tobacco products to provide the required relief to Pakistan’s struggling economy. Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager SPARC, said that in order to sail through the current economic situation, Pakistan should look to tap in revenue generation opportunities and look to cut down the avoidable costs. Both these can be done by increasing taxation on tobacco products. He stated that in Pakistan, the number of smokers has reached up to 29m many of whom have become victims of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and chronic lung diseases. These are collectively responsible for almost 68pc of all deaths in Pakistan as 170,000 people die every year that means 466 people die every day due to tobacco use. Such hazardous items should be heavily taxed to keep them out of the reach of lower income groups and children. On the contrary, in Pakistan, tobacco products are being sold at lower rates compared to other countries in the region. Khalil Ahmed Dogar further added that the children of Pakistan are being targeted by the tobacco industry so that “replacement smokers” could be recruited. Around 1200 Pakistani children between the ages of 6-15 years start smoking every day. He was of the view that increasing tobacco taxes will bring this number down. Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), highlighted that the use of tobacco causes an economic burden of 615b annually which is 1.6pc of Pakistan’s GDP. On the other hand, the revenue generated from the tobacco industry is 120b. It is astonishing that while prices of all essential items have risen exponentially in last 3 years, tobacco industry keeps benefiting from the relaxed taxation policy. Since tobacco products are the source of damage, the tobacco industry should pay for the loss instead of others. Shariq Mahmood Khan, CEO Chromatic Trust, said that imposing higher tobacco taxes would help Pakistan improve its international standing. World Health Organization has repeatedly recommended Pakistan to increase Federal Excise Duty on tobacco products by 30pc. Tobacco taxes are the most cost-effective tobacco control measure. Evidence suggests that higher cigarette taxes deter smoking initiation, reduce cigarette consumption, and even lead smokers to quit. It is an excellent opportunity for the government to generate revenue, to provide remedy to the people, and to increase Pakistan’s international prestige.