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There are more than 7 million deaths from tobacco use every year globally, a figure that is predicted to cross 8 million by 2030 without effective and intensified action.
There are more than 7 million deaths from tobacco use every year globally, a figure that is predicted to cross 8 million by 2030 without effective and intensified action.

Smokers Undeterred as Bills Keep Rising

Since the beginning of the past fiscal year (ended in March) the taxes collected on tobacco products are paid to the Health Ministry (50%), Education Ministry (25%) and Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs (25%) for anti-smoking campaigns

Smokers Undeterred as Bills Keep Rising

Iranians spend $1-1.5 million (40 to 50 billion rials) on tobacco products each day and the cost of treating tobacco-related disease is almost three times more than the amount spent on tobacco consumption.
During the past five years, the rate of tobacco consumption has only slightly decreased, studies conducted by the Health Ministry indicate. The rate is still high among adolescents and young people (the peak age for first trying of smoking has decreased from 13 to 10). The figure has also increased dramatically compared to the past decade, the Persian language weekly ‘Salamat’ reported.
“In 2006, Iranians smoked 50 billion cigarettes (worth $33.3 million). The figure reached 60-70 billion cigarettes in 2016,” said Dr Mohammadreza Madani, head of the Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association (IATA).
Another concern is the high prevalence of hookah (water pipe) for smoking flavored tobacco among young people. One hour of smoking hookah exposes a smoker 100-fold to the amount of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette. Even those people around a hookah smoker inhale smoke equal to 10 cigarettes.  
Every year on May 31, the WHO marks World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2017 is ‘Tobacco – a threat to development.’
But irrespective of the programs to create awareness on the harmful effects of smoking, statistics show that 14-15% of Iranians from the 80 million population are regular cigarette smokers (more than 3% are women, and 20% men).
“Though most of the cigarette smokers are men, hookah smoking doesn’t vary by gender; 21.3% of women and 21.7% of men are hookah smokers,” Madani said.

  Dodging Taxes
Iran is one of the nations that has signed the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), by which a country is committed to reduce the rate of tobacco consumption every year (by implementation of both price and tax measures as well as non-price measures to reduce demand for tobacco).
Pointing to Article 8 of the National Comprehensive Law on Tobacco Control, Madani said, “According to the law passed in 2006, every year taxes on cigarettes should be increased by 10%.”
“However, there have been always obstacles in its implementation. For example, in 2010 the figure decreased to 5% due to ‘manipulative tactics’ by the powerful tobacco lobby. Tobacco producers said that high taxes on cigarettes would lead to an increase in cigarette smuggling, and thus managed to reduce the tax.”
However, in January this year, lawmakers passed cigarette and tobacco tax slabs to be implemented under the sixth five-year economic development plan (2017-22).
Based on the new law, the tax slab on locally-produced tobacco and cigarettes is 10%; for local brands jointly produced by domestic and foreign manufacturers, it is 20%; for domestically produced cigarettes with foreign brand names the slab is 25%; and for imported cigarettes and tobacco, it is 40%.
Lawmakers also mandated the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade to announce the retail prices of cigarettes and all tobacco products to the relevant authorities for taxation purposes and for printing the tax rates on cigarette packs.
“Since the beginning of the past fiscal year (ended in March) the taxes collected on tobacco products are paid to the Health Ministry (50%), Education Ministry (25%) and Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs (25%). The Education Ministry is required to spend the money on increasing students’ awareness of harms associated with tobacco smoking,” Madani said.
Earlier, the tax money was given to the ministries of health and sports and youth affairs.  

  Facts About Tobacco
There are more than 7 million deaths from tobacco use every year, a figure that is predicted to cross 8 million by 2030 without effective and intensified action. Tobacco consumption is a threat to any person, regardless of gender, age, race, cultural or educational background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and national economies.
Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased healthcare costs and decreased productivity. Some 80% of premature deaths from tobacco occur in low- or middle-income countries, which face increased challenges to achieving their development goals, the WHO website reports.
Tobacco growing requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, which can be toxic and pollute water supplies. Each year, tobacco growing uses 4.3 million hectares of land, resulting in global deforestation between 2% and 4%. Tobacco manufacturing also produces over 2 million tons of solid waste.
By increasing cigarette taxes worldwide by $1, an extra $190 billion could be raised for development. High tobacco taxes contribute to revenue generation for governments, reduce demand for tobacco, and offer an important revenue stream to finance development activities.

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