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Is Tax The Best Way To Fight Tobacco?

I refer to the letter by “public health physician” Dr W. Y. Wan (“Tax is best way to fight tobacco”, January 28).

The government should not unconditionally increase tobacco tax so that it reaches record-high levels. It is obvious that there is a market demand for cigarettes.

If there is a substantial increase in tax, the criminal syndicates will seize the opportunity to import untaxed cigarettes and such smuggling activities will increase.

As a result, the revenue derived from the tax on cigarettes which are sold legally, could go down. The only people who will benefit from this are the criminals.

Surely, education is the best course to follow. We have to educate people who are not yet addicted about the negative effect smoking will have on them. I think the graphic pictures on cigarette packets (showing the effects of smoking), can get the message across. We should also offer encouragement to people who are addicted to smoking to quit. More must be done to try and put more young people off smoking.

Enforcement policy should also be reviewed. It has been argued that the Tobacco Control Office has not been effective.

There are still people smoking in places where it is banned, such as karaoke bars. The office must be given more teeth.

Jeff Leung, Wong Tai Sin

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