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Public support for combating black market cigarettes hits all-time high whilst public perception of its severity dips

Clear the Air (CTA) says:

The China Ratified FCTC Treaty mandates increasing tobacco excise tax a) in excess of inflation rate and b) at regular yearly intervals to make tobacco unaffordable to youth.

Most youths start smoking and nicotine addiction before the age of 18. Hence it is important they do not start – that would be the death knell for Big Tobacco which callously addicts children in the pursuit of increased profits.

Preventative health measures include tobacco excise taxation, plain packaging of tobacco products to remove attractive colours from the Silent Salesman (pack containers),
placing the onus on premises owners and licensees to stop people smoking in workplaces such as restaurants and bars, COMPREHENSIVE instead of piecemeal public smoking bans and legislation, point of sale display bans and licensing of tobacco retailers, raising the tobacco use and buying age to 21 (frontal lobe development in youth thinking patterns starts to change at that age) and mandating large graphic health warnings printed on the retail packs – these should be rotated at regular intervals.

The FCTC Treaty also requires that any contact with the tobacco industry by Governments should be solely to regulate them and such meetings should be held in public.

Moreover on a regular basis the tobacco industry are supposed under the FCTC legal binding instrument to provide information on what organisations and front groups they have been funding and any forbidden CSR Projects they have entered into.

This heinous industry seeks to addict children as replacement addicted customers for their older customers that are literally dying off.

Two in every three smokers will be killed by their addiction to the nicotine in tobacco.

Recognition of their front groups and those seeking to further the interests of Big Tobacco should be rejected, and they should be publically shamed for fronting for the merchants of death.

Worldwide, Big Tobacco uses the same tactics: they blatantly lie in order to protect their market share: in fact they are the source of smuggling genuine products which they refer to as ‘Transit’ or ‘General Cargo’

RICO convicted Racketeers (Big T) state:

– Tobacco smuggling will increase if excise tax is increased
– Plain packaging does not work
– Graphic warnings do not work, hides their trademarks
– What they do not advertise is they are RICO convicted racketeers

Clear the Air:

CTA: this is a crime prevention matter and handled by HK Customs very well
CTA: Australia has proven the exact opposite and many countries are now following this path
CTA: hundreds of peer reviewed scientific reports prove otherwise. Australian and UK courts overturned their appeals
CTA: FACT ! the US judgment is attached in the file


A survey conducted by Ipsos Hong Kong Limited (Ipsos), an independent opinion research specialist, reveals that whilst public perception of the black market cigarette problem dipped, a record number of respondents believe that increased government action is necessary to combat the illicit cigarette trade.

“Black market cigarettes cannot be eliminated by simply implementing one measure” said Jeff Herbert, advisor to the Hong Kong United Against Illicit Trade (HKUAIT). “In addition to considering stricter penalties and other measures such as strong minimum sentences, and increasing public education, the Hong Kong Government needs to ensure that it does not implement legislation such as drastic tax increases or excessive health warnings as international experience shows that these regulations could possibly reverse the downward trend of illicit cigarettes in Hong Kong.”

According to the latest Oxford Economics “Asia Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2015″ report, illicit cigarettes contributed to 29.1% of total cigarette consumption. However, while still accounting for nearly 1 in 3 cigarettes consumed in Hong Kong, the illicit cigarette trend has seen a gradual decline since recording at 35.9% in 2012.

In an Ipsos survey released today, Ipsos Director Mick Gordon highlighted that “the findings clearly show that approximately 3 in 4 respondents believe drastic increases in tobacco duty, insufficient penalties and sophisticated criminal networks contribute to the problem of illicit cigarettes in Hong Kong”.

“Tobacco duty revision rates, while important, is not the only regulatory measure that should be approached cautiously”, Jeff warns. “As a matter of principle, HKUAIT agrees that tobacco duty needs to be revised periodically. However, any increase should take into account prevailing social and economic conditions, reflected in the Government’s annual Consumer Price Index report”.

In May last year, the Food and Health Bureau issued a letter notifying selected stakeholders that it plans on pushing ahead with a legislative proposal that increases the size of health warnings on tobacco products from 50% to 85%.

“This legislative proposal is particularly worrying because we can foresee the direct effect it has on the illicit tobacco trade”, adds Patrick Wong, Executive Director of HKUAIT. Several stakeholders, including HKUAIT, have argued that the illicit trade of cigarettes will further proliferate if the proposed 85% graphic health warning is implemented alongside a requirement to insert tar and nicotine levels on side panels. Viewed together, available space for tobacco manufacturers to print security and authentication features is further reduced, resulting in a less secure supply chain and an environment that facilitates illicit trade.

The 85% health warning debate continues at the Legislative Council’s Panel on Health Services (Panel). Members of the public are invited to submit their views online (up to 10 January 2017). A special meeting of the Panel to discuss this issue has been scheduled for 17 January 2017.

This survey was commissioned by HKUAIT and conducted by Ipsos in December 2016. More than a thousand Hong Kong adult citizens participated in this survey. Over the last 4 years, HKUAIT has commissioned similar surveys to gauge the public’s perception of the illicit cigarette problem and how it may affect the lives of Hong Kong citizens.

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