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Double tobacco tax, Council on Smoking and Health urges Hong Kong government

Clear the Air says:

YES this request shown in SCMP below was one year ago in 2015, and what did the Almighty do (aka John Tsang, Financial Secretary) ?

– well, absolutely nothing! He must prefer gathering the profits tax from the tobacco companies instead and thereby knowingly ignoring a binding

WHO International Instrument lodged with the UN Treaties office.

So here we are in 2016 and COSH, the Government Council on Smoking OR Health  funded body of experts with a deputy director of the Health Department on their Panel, again recommended an increase in tobacco tax to Almighty Tsang, and what did Almighty Tsang do?

– well he said in his budget he was going to provide more hospital beds and no mention of the required preventative measure excise tax increase.

COSH are clear on what they were repeatedly asking of the Almighty: obey the WHO FCTC Treaty requirements binding Hong Kong!

Here is the COSH overpolite response to the nondescript 2016 Almighty’s Budget, on non- preventative healthcare:

So much for the Almighty’s Duty of Care to the people of Hong Kong and the smokers and the inquisitive youth, one of every two of these smokers will DIE, slowly and painfully from their inexpensive habit.

But the Amighty’s arrogance cuts far deeper; COSH is a Government funded body and the Financial Secretary has repeatedly ignored their expert advice and openly failed to follow the FCTC Treaty requirements.

Is this COSH, a Value-for-Money Organisation then if the Almighty can just repeatedly ignore their expertise?

Is it better to Prevent youth starting smoking, or to have to treat the effects of tobacco: nicotine addiction, cancer, emphysema and COPD, loss of productivity, increased health care, just build more hospital beds for them?

Is it Value-for-Money to use tax-payer money to subvent the tobacco companies, which Almighty Tsang repeatedly does, just pay for more hospital beds to treat the ravages caused by the tobacco companies and more doctors, nurses and medicines; instead of prevention of addiction by following WHO FCTC directives (increase tax annually, also increase tax in excess of the inflation rate) as a supposed ratified party to the FCTC Treaty ?

And why is Hong Kong not suing the tobacco companies for the costs of healthcare caused by the use of their consumer product?


An anti-smoking body has told the government it should double tobacco tax in a bid to reduce the habit among Hongkongers.

The Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) proposes that a 100 per cent tax increase should to be implemented in the next fiscal year, in the hope of cutting the smoking rate from 10.7 per cent, to a single digit figure, between 9.5 and 9.9 per cent, in one to two years.

“At least now we have a preliminary goal and hope the smoking rate will have a further drop in the future,” said the council’s chairman, Antonio Kwong Cho-shing.

The proposal was supported by a survey on tobacco control policy, jointly conducted by COSH and the University of Hong Kong from May to September last year. Some 2,419 people were surveyed, including 800 current smokers, 800 former smokers and 819 people who had never smoked.

More than 65 per cent of the respondents replied that the 11.8 per-cent increase in tobacco tax last year was not effective in bringing smokers to quit, while 72.9 per cent supported increasing tobacco tax annually.

The retail price of a pack of cigarettes should be increased from the current HK$55 to HK$106, the respondents suggested as a mean average. The smokers went even further, suggesting on average that the price should be raised to HK$171.

COSH’s executive director, Vienna Lai Wai-yin, said that increasing tobacco tax is effective in encouraging smokers to quit. “This is more influential among youngsters and the elderly who are more price responsive,” she said.

She added that the World Health Organisation suggested tobacco tax as an “effective and important means” to reduce tobacco consumption.

Tobacco tax in the city was raised 300 per cent in 1983, which lead to a 4.6 per cent decline in the smoking rate over two years. However, tobacco tax has been frozen 12 times since 1999 with only two significant increases – a 50 per cent hike in 2009 and 41.5 per cent rise in 2011.

According to government thematic household survey reports, the smoking prevalence of people aged 15 or above dropped from 11.8 per cent in 2008 to 10.7 per cent in 2012. Secondary school pupils showed a more significant drop from 6.9 per cent to 3 per cent.

“If tax can increase 300 per cent, we will totally support it. It is indeed more effective than television advertisements,” said Professor Lam Tai-hing from the HKU School of Public Health.

COSH urged the government to allocate more resources towards smoking cessation and education, as tax revenue from tobacco products increased to HK$5.8 billion in 2013.

The current tax rate on a price of cigarettes is 69 per cent.

Source URL (modified on Jan 7th 2015, 5:43pm):

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