Tobacco Industry Country Profile – Afghanistan

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Afghanistan is located in South Asia. It is bordered in the north and the west by Pakistan and in the east by Iran. Afghanistan has a population of 35.53 million.[1][2]This is a country with a predominantly rural population distribution (74.5%). The average Life Expectancy at birth is 64.96 years with a literacy rate of 31.74%. Afghanistan reports a Human Development Index of 0.496.[3][4][5][6]

Image 1: Afghanistan. Source: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

It is mentioned that human habitation in Afghanistan started from as back as 50,000 years. Aryans invaded Afghanistan around 2000 BC. Arabs invaded Afghanistan in 7th century and introduced Islam. Period of 1826 to 1919 is usually termed the period of European influence, marked by the conflict between the expanding British and Russian empires. In accordance with the independence treaty, the British agreed to withdraw from control of Afghanstan and King Amanullah Khan became the ruler in in1919.[7]

Tobacco use in Afghanistan

According to the 2015 Demographic and Health Survey, estimate prevalence of tobacco consumption was 48.2 % for men and 6 % for women aged 15 years and above. About 8.3% of children 13 to 15 years of age consume tobacco.[8]

Image 2: Smokeless Tobacco - Naswar Snuff . Source: Google Images

Burden of Tobacco use

Health Burden of Tobacco use

The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is escalating in Afghanistan. There will be 27,000 deaths annually in Afghanistan as a result of tobacco consumption and tobacco smoking is estimated to cause 10% of heart disease, 71% lung cancer and 42% of chronic respiratory disease.[9][10] Contribution of NCDs to the total Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) losses in Afghanistan increased from 38.2% in 2011 to 42.9% in 2016. One of these major risk factors for this increase is tobacco consumption. According to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation report around 36% of DALYs were the result of causes of disability associated with tobacco use, and 5% of DALYs was attributed directly to tobacco use in 2016.[11]

Image 3: Burden of Diseases. Source: Global Burden of Diseases website

Economic burden of tobacco use

Tobacco imposes a substantial economic burden. In Afghanistan, medical treatment of tobacco-related disease is estimated to cost 22,078 million Afghani annually. This includes direct medical care treatment expenditures and indirect costs related to lost productivity due to early mortality and morbidity.[9]

Tobacco Industry in Afghanistan

Tobacco companies and market shares

Domestic: The main domestic tobacco distributor in the country is ‘Aram Group’. The other domestic suppliers and manufacturers are Amal Trading, Asia Middle East Co, Nasib Aria Co. Ltd, Sarco Abad and Tamana Ltd.[12]

International: The international tobacco companies operating in Afghanistan are Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corporation (KT&G) and Alokozay Group of Dubai.[12]

Currently tobacco is not manufactured domestically and is imported from 10 countries in total. There was an increase from USD 3.8 Million of cigarette imports in 2013 to USD 87.2 Million in 2015. Based on the World Health Organization country profile report, Pine is the most popular imported brand. Dunhill, Camel and Marlboro also import in Afghanistan. [12]

Tobacco cultivation

Agriculture is the main source of income for majority of the population and tobacco is one of the main crops cultivated.[13] Recent data on tobacco cultivation is not available.

Tobacco control law and taxation

Afghanistan became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2010. Afghanistan passed its Tobacco Control Law in 2015, which calls for increased tobacco taxation as well as measures to reduce demand for tobacco products. In 2018, Afghanistan passed a law that mandates the duty tax on imported tobacco products to reduce the tobacco consumption. Tariffs on cigarettes are set at 20% of cost, insurance, and freight. Other tobacco products have a 10% tariff, and unmanufactured tobacco has a 5% tariff.[14][11]


  1. Central Intelligence Agency. The World Fact Book, undated, accessed February 2020
  2. World bank. Population Public data, 6 July 2018, accessed February 2020
  3. Trading Economics. Afghanistan - Rural Population, 2020, accessed February 2020
  4. Macrotrends. Afghanistan Life Expectancy 1950-2020, 2010-2020, accessed February 2020
  5. Afghanistan - Literacy rate, undated, accessed February 2020
  6. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century, undated, Accessed February 2020
  7. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Amanullah Khan, 2020, Accessed February 2020
  8. World Health Organization. Country profile Afghanistan, 2019, Accessed February 2020
  9. 9.0 9.1 American Cancer Society Inc., Vital Strategies. Afghanistan, Tobacco Atlas, 2020, accessed February 2020
  10. World Health Organization. Afghanistan, 2020, accessed February 2020
  11. 11.0 11.1 World Bank Group. Options for tobacco taxation in Afghanistan, 2018, Accessed February 2020
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 World Health Organization. Afghanistan Tobacco Industry Profile, 2017, Accessed February 2020
  13. J. Charpentier. Water-Pipes, Tobacco and Snuff in Afghanistan, undated, accessed February 2020
  14. Official Gazette. Tobacco Control Law, 2015, Accessed February 2020