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"Tax to Quit"; "Quit to Win"
Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) launched the “Raise Tobacco Tax for Smoking Cessation – United Effort Advocacy Campaign” earlier in January to urge the Government raising tobacco tax to at least 75% of the retail price in the coming financial year in order to prevent smoking among the youth and encourage smoking cessation.

COSH, School of Nursing and School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong and Television Broadcasts Limited launched the “Quit to Win” Smoking Cessation Contest in 2009. Researchers made follow-up calls to participants at 2-month, 6-month and 12-month intervals to find out the smoking cessation situation of the each individual.

Ms Lisa LAU, JP, MH, COSH Chairman, Prof. Judith Mackay, OBE, SBS, JP, FRCP(Edin), FRCP(Lon), Senior Policy Advisor of WHO, Prof. Tai-Hing Lam, JP, Sir Robert Kotewall Professor in Public Health, Head of School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong and Professor Sophia CHAN, Professor and Head of School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong introduced the event and the results of the 12-month follow-up research on the press conference to urge the Government to raise tobacco tax for smoking cessation. The details of the results are summarized as follows.

  • COSH, School of Nursing and School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong has recruited 1,119 citizens to join the “Quit to Win” Smoking Cessation Contest in the 23 recruitment programmes organized in between May and July 2009 at different districts in Hong Kong. Participants are required to cease smoking in the 12-month interval during the contest.
  • It is shown that the quit rate was 30.2% if participants who were lost to follow up are excluded. (The quit rate was 19.1% if all the participants are included.) Among the participants, 39.2% (439 participants) had made a quit attempt during the contest; 38.3% (429 participants) reduced daily cigarette consumption; and 34% (380 participants) increased intention to quit smoking.
  • It is demonstrated that the most common reasons to quit smoking were to prevent smoking attributable health hazards (61.5%). The other stated they quit smoking because they would like to be a role model for children (15.5%); or due to the increased cigarette tax (14.1%). Furthermore, it is discovered that the successful quit rate for smokers who quit for the sake of increased tax reached 45%. In other words, raising tobacco tax could effectively encourage smoking cessation.

Therefore, COSH and The University of Hong Kong advocate the increase in tobacco tax in the coming financial year to at least 75% of the retail price to meet the standard as suggested by WHO as raising tobacco tax is an effective way to lessen the number of smoking population.

In addition to the announcement of the research results, COSH has invited the winner of the Quit to Win Contest to share the successful smoking cessation experience so as to encourage more citizens to quit smoking. He also wrote a blessing using traditional Chinese calligraphy to celebrate the coming New Year with officiating guests to demonstrate his determination in smoking cessation as well as to encourage other smokers to quit.

For details of the 12-month follow-up results of 2009 “Quit to Win Contest”, please click here.
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