GST rate hike on cigarettes is a welcome move by the government but I don’t think people addicted to tobacco would give up its consumption just because they have to pay more. Consumption of tobacco and cigarette smoking kills lakhs of people every year and I have always wondered why its consumption cannot be banned in our country. Government is penny wise and pound foolish if it thinks it earns revenue out of tobacco sale as multiple times the taxes collected on its sale gets spent on the medical condition of people suffering from tobacco related diseases like cancer and lung ailments.
India no doubt is a democratic country where people have right to express their views but citizens health is government’s responsibility and we need to ban cigarettes and tobacco consumption and set an great example for other nations to follow. Smoking also pollutes environment and many become victims of passive smoking even though they don’t smoke. Time is ripe for the government to ban smoking and nobody would indulge in this habit when manufacturing of cigarettes is banned in our country.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)