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Letter to the Tobacco Control from Clear The Air

Dear Tobacco Control,

Clear the Air says: excise taxation works. Duty paid sales were down 22.7% on last year’s equivalent sales after the new tax came into being on 25th February 2009. The figures produced by this self interest group of merchants selling the only legal consumer product that kills when used as directed by its makers, just do not add up. Hong Kong permits the duty free import of just 60 cigarettes per person and they must have been out of Hong Kong for more than 24 hours to be able to bring in more. That means the moles need somewhere to stay or pay to stay across the border for more than 24 hours which makes mass import unfeasible. If a mole was to make the trips every 24.1 hours throughout the year without rest or holiday he/she could theoretically carry in 363 x 60 sticks or 21,780 sticks per year. Tobacco Control Office should demand and publish the figures claimed by this organisation, not erroneous percentages.

The Laws of Hong Kong Cap 371 Sec 15A forbids the giving of tobacco products in exchange for a token – in the case quoted above the Association admits to giving ‘genuine’ tobacco products to surveyed persons in exchange for their existing cigarette packet which in this case would be a ‘token’ under 3 a) below. The attempt to switch these persons to the Association’s products could also be construed an offence under 3c) below.

We request TCO take action against this Association.

Yours sincerely,

James Middleton

Chairman anti tobacco committee

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