Highest GST for beedis hailed
Kerala s medical fraternity and health experts have hailed the GST Council s decision to tax all tobacco products, including beedis, at the highest 28 per cent rate, saying it would not only curb their consumption but also enhance government revenues. Significantly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that tobacco taxes have the potential to reduce tobacco use, save lives and generate revenues, they said.
Dr Tiny Nair, Chief Consultant Cardiologist, PRS Hospital here, said, "Scientific studies have shown that beedi smokers are at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, besides cancers in various parts of the body." By taxing beedi at the same rate as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, the government has ensured that millions of beedi users will quit, and millions of youth will be prevented from initiating tobacco usage, he said. Beedis were the most commonly used tobacco product, accounting for 64 per cent of all tobacco consumption and are disproportionately consumed by the poor.