Open Letter to Financial Secretary, Hong Kong SAR Government Raising Tobacco Tax Substantially to Lower Smoking Prevalence
2015.12.28To reduce the smoking prevalence and prevent youth from taking up the habit, Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (“COSH”) sent an open letter to the Financial Secretary to reiterate the effectiveness and importance of raising tobacco tax in reducing tobacco use. Mr Antonio KWONG, Chairman of COSH said, “COSH strongly advises the Government to substantially raise tobacco tax by 100% in FY2016-2017 to lower the smoking prevalence in Hong Kong to single digit as soon as possible”.
Raising tobacco tax is recognized as the single most effective measure to reduce tobacco use and encourage smoking cessation. According to the Tobacco Control Policy-related Survey 2015 conducted by COSH, 77.2% of the respondents supported an increase in tobacco tax annually. Besides, the respondents commented that the cigarette retails price should be increased to HK$119 per pack on average (current retail price is around HK$55) to effectively motivate smokers to quit smoking. The Government should formulate a proactive and long-term policy on raising tobacco tax to maintain the price effect on smoking cessation. A multi-pronged approach in tobacco control, including tobacco tax, education and publicity, legislations, enhanced smoking cessation services and enforcement, etc. should be adopted to motivate smokers to quit and protect people from the hazards of smoking.
Click here to read the open letter