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Doubts About Tobacco Tax Hike

SCMP – Mar 24, 2009

The government has argued that the increase in tobacco tax announced in last month’s budget would help to lower demand for cigarettes. Those smokers who can no longer afford their extravagant habit, may need a bit of an incentive to quit.

However, I have found it disappointing that the government has failed to take advantage of the rise in tobacco duty.

It has not introduced a new series of anti-smoking measures.

It is high time the administration had more publicity campaigns aimed at helping to curb people’s smoking habits.

At present, not everyone knows about the smoking cessation services that are provided by the government and other organisations.

There must be more publicity so that more smokers can be made aware that they can get help.

I would have to question officials’ intentions. It seems they are more concerned with gathering extra revenue than in tobacco control measures.

If the government wants to show that it is sincere in its desire to reduce smoking in Hong Kong I would advise it to consolidate the multi-pronged approach regarding tobacco use, which it claims to have adopted.

Siu Lok-fai, Sha Tin

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