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Do You Think The Smoking Ban Is Effective?

Sent to SCMP Talkback on the 12th March 2008:

The so called smoking ban has been a dismal failure. The Government has allowed a smoking exemption to any licensed bar applying for one and even restaurants if they state that they earn more from drinks’ sales than food sales.

It is business as usual for the tobacco companies. The University of Hong Kong handles just one quitline capable of a maximum of 400 callers. In Hong Kong there are currently almost 16,000 replacement smokers in the 15-19 age group. This is a sham.

More than 1,324 people die a year in Hong Kong from passive smoking. In 2006 pre smoking ban, there were 3331.74 million duty paid cigarettes sold in Hong Kong; in 2007 after the smoking ban 3495.73 million duty paid cigarettes were sold here. The Government reaped 2.834 billion in tobacco tax in 2007 but plied next to nothing into smoking prevention, multi lingual Quitlines and therapy. The Financial Secretary, despite repeated requests from expert sources, failed in his Budget to increase the tobacco tax which is proven worldwide to be the most effective measure in reducing smoking especially amongst youth.

On the contrary, in UK which has had a comprehensive smoking ban without exemptions since July last year , tax of $62 a packet and available and ready services to those who want to quit, there has been a 4% decrease in tobacco use in just 8 months.

James Middleton
Clear the Air

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