The Citizen Health Initiative (CHI) has expressed its appreciation for the government and FBR’s continuous endeavors to eliminate illicit cigarettes in the country by targeting retailers, a move aimed at creating a smoke-free nation. While there has been notable progress in curbing retailers, the CHI emphasizes the crucial necessity of addressing the root cause – illegal cigarette manufacturers, responsible for the widespread availability of illicit cigarettes.
“The government’s crackdown on retailers is a step in the right direction, contributing to a decline in the consumption of cigarettes,” stated the CHI spokesman. However, he underscored the importance of sustaining this momentum and expanding efforts to target the illegal cigarette market, which has grown rapidly following tax impositions on legal cigarettes, undermining the government’s initial success in reducing cigarette consumption.
Despite the government’s initiatives, the surge in illegal cigarette sales presents a dual challenge, not only diminishing government revenues but also straining the health budget. The CHI spokesperson advocates for a balanced approach, emphasizing the need for continued crackdowns on both retailers and manufacturers to achieve lasting and meaningful results. This comprehensive strategy is essential to not only combat illicit cigarette sales but also address the associated fiscal and public health concerns.