Lower-income households’ spending on tobacco more than higher-income households: Study

By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: In what seems to be a quite worrisome situation, the lower-income households spend a larger share of their budget on tobacco than higher-income households, negatively impacting expenditure on other goods and services including basic needs such as education, health, food, and housing, etc.

The startling revelation has been made in the research study conducted by the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC) on the Impact of Tobacco Use on Household Consumption Patterns in Pakistan.

Wasim Saleem, Research Associate SPDC, while presenting the findings of SPDC’s research in a webinar, stated that consumption of tobacco constitutes a sizable portion of household expenditure in Pakistan which leads to reduced expenditure on other goods and services including basic needs such as education, health, food, housing, and others.

The study reveals that lower-income households spend a larger share of their budget (3.0%) on tobacco than higher-income households (2.6%).

In the case of lower-income households, the budget share allocated to tobacco is even greater than education and health.

The analysis shows that reducing tobacco use by 50% in lower-income households allows for more resources to be used on other commodities, especially food (25%) and education (35%).

Given the tobacco-poverty link highlighted in the study, it was recommended that tobacco control measures be integrated into the poverty reduction policies and programs.

The guest speakers included Malik Imran, from Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Dr. Ziauddin Islam from the Tobacco Control Cell of the Ministry of National Health Services, Dr. Shahzad Alam Khan from WHO-Pakistan and Dr. Minhaj us Siraj from Tobacco-Smoke Free Capital, Islamabad.