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Youth tobacco-control measures effective

teen smokerFirst published: March 3, 2010

Source: Hong Kong’s Information Services Department

The percentage of smokers in the 15-19 age group in Hong Kong dropped from 3.5% in 2005 to 2.4% in 2008, showing the tobacco-control measures aimed at young people have been largely effective, Secretary for Food & Health Dr York Chow says.

He told lawmakers restricting access to cigarettes solely by legislation will not produce significant effects because young people can still get cigarettes from multiple channels including their friends and family.

The Government has long been taking a multi-pronged, progressive approach to minimise the harmful effects of tobacco on young people. Measures adopted include publicity and education, provision of smoking-cessation services, increase of tobacco duty, and enactment of legislation to ban tobacco advertisements and expand the statutory no-smoking areas.

“The enforcement of the legislative provisions that prohibit the sale of cigarettes to persons under the age of 18 is also part of the Government’s tobacco-control efforts targeting young people.”

He said the Government and Council on Smoking & Health will continue to focus on raising the awareness of tobacco’s harmful effects among children and teens in conducting education and promotional programmes for this target group.

“In particular, the promotional efforts will first aim at families by encouraging adults to set a good role model at home to reduce the accessibility of tobacco products to children and adolescents.”

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