Hong Kong Group suggests heavier tax on cigarettes to reduce smokers

The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) on Thursday, suggested heavier tax on cigarettes to cut the number of smokers in Hong Kong.

COSH said the imposition of heavier tax was also an effort to double prices of cigarettes in that country.

According to COSH, about 10.5 per cent of people in Hong Kong are smokers, adding that they currently pay about 7.3 U.S. dollars for a pack of cigarette.

The organisation urged the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to impose a 100 per cent cigarette tax increase.

This it said the imposition of tax increase would raise the retail price of a pack to about 12.8 U.S. dollars and reduce the smoking population to 5 per cent or below in 2027.

Cigarette prices are low in Hong Kong compared to other developed economies such as Canada, Britain, Singapore and Australia, COSH said.

COSH cited a recent survey in which current smokers commented that the cigarette retail price should be increased to about 37.5 U.S. dollars per pack, on average, to effectively motivate them to quit smoking.

COSH said it would also advocate long-term and comprehensive policies such as ban on tobacco product display at points of sale, extension of smoke-free areas.

This it said was in a bid to increase the legal tobacco sales age, tightened enforcement, and allocate more resources for smoking cessation services and smoke-free education. (Xinhua/NAN)

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