Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir chapter of anti-tobacco NGO Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) on Friday welcomed the state government`s move to hike value added tax on tobacco products by five per cent.
"By announcing an increase in VAT on all tobacco products, the JK government has demonstrated tremendous commitment towards safeguarding the health of state`s people and protecting the masses," VHAI executive director Bhavna Mukhopadhyay said in a statement here.
Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather in his budget speech in the Assembly earlier this week had announced an increase in VAT from 25 per cent to 30 per cent on all tobacco products during the financial year 2012-13.
"This step will put a control on tobacco consumption," Mukhopadhyay said.
The Global Adult Tobacco Survey India 2009-10 released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has found that 26.6 per cent population of Jammu and Kashmir use tobacco products in one form or the other.