Kolkata: In order to deter youngsters from taking to tobacco, an NGO Saturday urged the West Bengal and central government to increase tobacco taxes to 65 percent.
On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day Saturday, NGO MANT appealed to the state government to implement the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA) in letter and spirit.
High tobacco prices are very effective in discouraging youngsters from taking up smoking, according to an official of the organisation.
“Taxes on ‘bidis’ should be specifically increased. Since they are not that expensive, youngsters in rural areas fall prey to the habit,” Nirmalya, director (planning) MANT, told IANS on the sidelines of an event here.
“Increasing taxes is the most efficient way to deter youngsters and the poor from abusing tobacco. Currently the taxes are around 43 percent… they should be increased to 65 percent,” he said, adding as many as 5,500 people across the globe start tobacco use each day.
WHO estimates that if all countries increased tobacco taxes to 50 percent there would be 49 million fewer smokers within the next three years.
Figures indicate tobacco use claims one life every six seconds, while nearly six million people die from tobacco-related illnesses each year.