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Price tobacco out of reach


World Health Organisation and World Bank data shows that a 10 per cent increase in tobacco tax reduces overall smoking by 4 per cent and youth smoking by up to 7 per cent.

Hong Kong must regularly increase its tobacco tax on the grounds of health care, to a level at least 80 per cent of the retail price.

This would be the nemesis of the tobacco industry; price-conscious youths are the most affected by tobacco taxation.

Front organisations paid for with tobacco industry money must not be granted charity status and must be banned from approaching schools and youths with the intention of stimulating a rebellious interest in tobacco rather than steering young people away from it.

Youths must see that tobacco control laws are meant to be obeyed and the enforcement staff of the Tobacco Control Office must be increased to achieve this.

Brand-stretching promotions should be banned and smoking in vehicles with children present outlawed.

Young people need to be made aware that smoking will take 15 to 20 years off their lifetime and that it is not cool to be a nicotine addict when nicotine is a pesticide.

James Middleton, chairman, anti-tobacco committee, Clear the Air

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