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41.5% Tobacco Tax Increase was passed in Legislative Council
2011.06.17
The Legislative Council endorsed the government proposal to increase the tobacco tax by 41.5% after a 7-hour debate yesterday. The bill was passed by 33 votes to 8 with 12 abstentions while there were 54 legislators in the chamber.

Secretary for Food and Health Dr York CHOW expressed that the government is using a multi-pronged, progressive approach to deter youth smoking. “The tobacco tax is effective in discouraging smoking. Since the last tobacco tax increment in 2009, the number of young smokers had decreased by 10%,” Dr Chow said.

Some legislators who voted against the proposal concerned that the tax increment deprives the rights of the poor from enjoying smoking and questioned the effectiveness of tobacco tax in reducing smoking prevalence. Most pan-democratic legislators sided with the government in tobacco tax urged for additional resources on smoking cessations and strengthened law enforcement on tobacco smuggling.

Representatives of COSH, School of Public Health and School of Nursing HKU, School of Public Health and Primary Care as well as organizations supporting tobacco control made a last minute effort outside Legco for the increase in tobacco tax.
Representatives of COSH, School of Public Health and School of Nursing HKU, School of Public Health and Primary Care as well as organizations supporting tobacco control made a last minute effort outside Legco for the increase in tobacco tax.


Sources:
1. Legislative Council
2. Press Release of Hong Kong SAR (Chinese Version Only)
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