In a meeting with Sardar Momeni, head of the Counter-Narcotics Center, with the board of directors of the Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association, both sides announced their readiness for reducing and controlling tobacco use.
Sardar Momeni while expressing his agreement with increasing tobacco tax, said that for controlling and reducing tobacco consumption, it’s necessary to increase the tobacco tax. He also said that as tobacco consumption is the gateway to drug addiction, the families needed to get sensitized about it, and the schools and universities should pay close attention to this issue.
He continued that PAD (Prevention against Tobacco Dependence, Path to Tobacco Free City) is a successful example in this regard and a joint program with Yaarigaraan (helpers) group which is working on prevention of drug addiction, could make a positive effect on prevention of tobacco use and drug addiction. He also stated that national media should work on sensitizing and informing the families about these issues.
Then Dr. Masjedi explained that the PAD program has started as a pilot plan in several high schools of Varamin since 2016, and now more than 6000 students in 68 schools are joined to this program. He said: “We want to implement this plan in Tehran and then in the whole country as a national program”.
Secretary-general of IATA also talked about the tobacco tax and said: “We are not against the production, and if it’s decided to increase production, we can export it. We are looking to reduce consumption. Smuggling tobacco needs its specific solution and shouldn’t be an excuse for increasing tobacco production. Also, the statistics about tobacco consumption in Iran are lower than what was reported; it’s an excuse for the tobacco industry to expand their activities”.
He also said that while we are sanctioned with almost all the essentials, even with medicine and medical equipment, foreign tobacco factories operate comfortably in Iran.