Though there is no promotional campaign by cigarette producing companies but still attraction for cigarettes remained stable as Pakistanis burned around Rs200 billion on smoking in the year 2011.
This startling cigarette production figures, provided by the SBP in its latest statistical report, show the number of cigarettes produced in the fiscal 2011 increased over last year of 2010.
These figures do not show complete production figures because a number of unregistered factories across the country produce low-grade cigarettes with cheaper selling prices.
SBP said that cigarettes produced fwere 65.40 billion during the 2010-11 financial year.
If the average price of one cigarette is Rs 3.00 (as prices fluctuate between Rs2.50 and Rs5), the cost of 66 billion cigarettes comes to around Rs 200 billion.
Average prices of the most popular brands range between Rs3.5 and Rs5.
It is surprising that the consumption of cigarettes has been rising even in the absence of advertising and despite a statutory warning on packets. It has also been observed that a number of substitutes for cigarettes, though prohibited, are available and doing a roaring business.
The Bank reported that the highest production of 76 billion cigarettes was recorded in 2009, while it was 65.30 billion in 2010 and 65.40 billion in 2011.The report does not mention the exact number of unregistered factories in the country and the number of unbranded cigarettes they are producing.
According to sellers, low-priced cigarettes are mostly produced in tribal belt of KP.
These cigarettes are not supplied to big cities like Karachi, but fake branded cigarettes produced by unregistered factories are available there.
The economy of cigarettes appears to be much higher than the figures provided by the SBP because it does not include several imported or smuggled brands of cigarettes.
The prices of imported cigarettes are usually 100 to 200% higher than the popular brands produced locally.