Multinational companies defy Federal Excise Act, threatening public health

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2024-02-21T12:47:00+05:00 Web Desk

ISLAMABAD - Multinational tobacco companies operating in Pakistan have introduced low-priced cigarette variants, violating the Federal Excise Act and jeopardizing public health.

The Federal Excise Act of 2005 prohibits manufacturers or importers from introducing a new cigarette brand variant at a lower price than the existing one within the same brand family. However, some multinational companies have found ways to violate the rules blatantly. 

For instance, Pakistan Tobacco Company, which is a subsidiary of multinational British American Tobacco, has introduced a new product, "Capstan International," for Rs164, which is a clear violation of the law. The existing brand is Capstan by Pall Mall, sold at Rs. 212.

Similarly, Philip Morris International, another multinational, has violated the act and the law prohibiting cigarette manufacturers from reducing retail prices from the level adopted on the day of the announcement of the latest budget. Philip Morris, which owns Marlboro, has introduced a new brand called "Crafted by Marlboro," which has been placed in tier two and attracts a lower tax levy, violating Pakistani laws.

The principle behind increasing taxation is to make cigarettes more expensive, while these two multinationals are finding new ways of abusing Pakistani laws. No company is allowed to sell any product below the price set by the government in the Federal Excise Act 2005, as per Malik Imran, from Tobacco-Free Kids.

Swift action is needed, and the government must enforce existing regulations to safeguard public health from the detrimental impact of multinational tobacco companies prioritizing profits over well-being.

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