Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Tobacco Tax Drive To Help Youths Quit

February 25, 2008 – Damon Pang – The Standard

Spending 10 percent of the extra revenue from a doubling of the tobacco tax in Wednesday’s budget speech on education would help youths quit smoking, the Committee on Youth Smoking Prevention said yesterday.

A survey conducted jointly by the committee and the Chinese University’s Hong Kong Institute of Asia Pacific Studies in December showed nine out of 10 respondents thought there is “an urgent” need to conduct anti-youth smoking campaigns.

Tik Chi-yuen, the committee chairman, said doubling the tax would provide more resources for the campaigns.

“Currently, each cigarette is taxed 80 HK cents. If you double that it could bring a certain level of deterrent effect as the increased cost make youths more cautious in their consumption, even when they share the cigarettes,” he said.

Tik noted that most youths smoke because of peer pressure as well as copying their idols’ behavior. They still smoke even though they know the habit is detrimental to their health, although an education fund can form a better foundation to discourage smoking.

Thomas Tse Lin-chung, the committee vice chairman, said regional neighbors such as Taiwan, Macau and Thailand, have used part of their tax on education as recommended by a recent World Health Organization report.

He suggested tighter legislation to prevent students in school uniforms to buy cigarettes. Tse also feared youths have been smoking more as the cost of an average packet has actually gone down to HK$29 compared to about HK$31 in 2001.

Li Cheong-lung, the chief executive of the committee, said the survey of 1,008 people found that 87.1 percent believed the issue of young smokers is “serious” or “very serious.”

Four out of five thought the government lacked sufficient effort on the issue, while nearly three out of four believed the government should “sharply increase” the tobacco tax. Another 86.5 percent felt the tobacco tax should be used to fund preventive measures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>