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Should The Tax On Tobacco Be Increased?

Updated on Apr 23, 2008 – SCMP

Hong Kong has forbidden smoking in public areas since last year. This policy has had some success, in that people can breathe cleaner air.

Now there are calls for increasing the tax on tobacco.

I think such a proposal has advantages and disadvantages. On a positive note, raising the tobacco tax would lead to more people quitting smoking because they are not prepared to buy expensive cigarettes. This would lead to more smokers escaping from the addiction, which is the aim of those calling for a higher tax.

However, on the down side, we could see an increase in cigarettes being sold on the black market, rather than legally in shops. Also, the tobacco sold illegally may be of questionable quality because it is not subject to the strict tests undertaken by cigarette companies. Therefore, it could put smokers at even greater risk than brand cigarettes sold over the counter.

I think the government should think very carefully before deciding whether or not to increase the tobacco tax.

Sandy Cheung, Sau Mau Ping

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