BENGALURU: Over 500 youngsters and youth associations across India have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to increase taxes on all tobacco products in the upcoming budget of 2022-23.
On the occasion of National Youth Day, they have appealed to the central leaders to increase excise duty on cigarettes, beedis and smokeless tobacco, and enable a healthy and addiction- free growing ecosystem for young people of the country.
Some of the recommendations include significantly increasing existing tax burden so that tobacco products become unaffordable by the vulnerable, especially the young, minimising discrepancies in taxation across different tobacco products, and simplifying the tobacco tax structure by reducing the number of tax tiers and implementing stronger packingrules.
“Tobacco use not only harms our health but is also a threat to the health of our friends and family. Additionally, tobacco users also have a greater risk of developing severe Covid-19 complications. I hope everyone breaks free from dependence on tobacco and stays healthy,” said international badminton player PV Sindhu.
Pointing out that youngsters are vulnerable to tobacco promotion in the form of surrogate advertisements, Roshan, a Class 10 student of St Joseph’s Boys’ High School, Bengaluru, said, “Our movie stars pose with cigarettes, creating an impression that it is cool. Our innocent minds fail to recognise the trap and many of us fall prey and end up becoming addicted to tobacco. I urge the government to hike tax on tobacco so that youngsters will no longer be able to afford cigarettes.”