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April 22nd, 2008:

Should The Tax On Tobacco Be Increased?

Updated on Apr 22, 2008 – SCMP

When you are out in the streets of Hong Kong, you will see a lot of smokers.

I think the problem related to smoking outdoors has been made worse now that smoking is banned in many venues. This means that when there are a lot of smokers outside in any one place, it is difficult for non-smokers like me to enjoy fresh air.

I am also concerned, from a health point of view, about the effect this can have on non-smokers. Therefore, in order to decrease the prevalence of smoking in Hong Kong, the government should raise the tax on tobacco.

Not only can it prevent smoking-related diseases, but it will also discourage new smokers, especially youngsters, from lighting up.

However, this may not be completely effective. As people’s living standards improve, the cost of buying cigarettes will not be that great a drain on people’s resources.

Therefore, I would suggest that the Hong Kong government follow the policy launched in Japan, where people are not allowed to smoke in the streets and residential areas. They would only be allowed to smoke in designated areas.

I think this would be the most effective way of dealing with the smoking problem in Hong Kong.

Liu Ming-ming, Sham Shui Po