The secretary-general of the Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association, in a TV program aired on December 25, said despite comprehensive sanctions against Iran that even included food and medicine, tobacco industry are exempted from sanctions and not only foreign companies produce cigarettes, but also they receive currency with government rate for their importation.
Dr. Masjedi explained that the formula for calculating cigarette tax in Iran is inefficient and while the cigarette is being sold with a price higher than what is written on the package, but the benefit goes to the pocket of the tobacco dealers and mafia, not the public funds. He added that we should learn from our neighboring countries like Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey; in case of getting correct taxes, we can obtain up to 20 thousand billion Tomans as tobacco taxation.
He said that regardless of a two-fold increase in the number of cigarettes manufactures in the past few years, unfortunately, the ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade issued licenses for 45 new brands of cigarettes. He explained that more than half of the foreign investment in the first six months of this year was in the tobacco industry, where cigarettes and tobacco mafia play a very important role.
Dr. Masjedi said that the rate of hookah consumption in the country is increasing and we need to find a solution for that. He explained that tobacco consumption in Iran has increased from 2000 tons to 10000 tons and media must inform, as we will be faced with a hookah crisis in the future.