NGO opposes Punjab move to reduce tax on cigarettes

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) The proposed move by the Punjab government to bring down taxes on cigarettes in the state came up against staunch opposition from a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

The Punjab government is mulling a rollback to 22 percent on taxes on tobacco products, which were increased last year to 55 percent.
Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth (HRIDAY), an NGO, has urged the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Jathedar Avtar Singh to work with the government of Punjab to reverse its proposal of reducing taxes on cigarettes.
“Though the Sikh religion strictly prohibits the use of tobacco and its related products in any form, the Punjab government is mulling over reducing tax on cigarettes. That would imply encouraging people to use it and further hurt the sentiments of millions of Sikhs, not only in India but also abroad,” the letter written by the NGO to the SGPC president said.
In another letter to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the NGO mentioned how women and children in Punjab are increasingly getting hooked to cigarettes and tobacco use because of its cheap price, easy availability and the aggressive marketing strategies of tobacco companies.