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Smokers cost HK $11.3bn a year

A study by Chinese University of Hong Kong said smoking costs taxpayers HK$11.3 billion each year.

The University’s Faculty of Medicine estimated that health-care expenses and productivity losses related to tobacco more than doubled in less than 20 years.

Dr Vivian Lee, a CUHK Associate Professor who headed the research, said there are more than 640,000 smokers in Hong Kong, and she expects the city’s cost from their habit to go higher.

The study also found each local smoker spends about HK$20,000 on tobacco products each year, making Hong Kong one of the most expensive cities in which to smoke in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Lee said the cost of smoking in the SAR is higher than in South Korea, but lower than in Singapore. She said the authority should promote a comprehensive approach in reducing smoking morbidity, instead of simply raising cigarette taxes

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