Date
23 September 2017
A government advisory body has proposed a doubling of the tobacco tax to deter Hong Kong's smokers. Photo: HKEJ
A government advisory body has proposed a doubling of the tobacco tax to deter Hong Kong's smokers. Photo: HKEJ

Govt urged to double tobacco levy

Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, a statutory body that advises authorities and community health organizations on matters related to public health, has urged the government to double the city’s tobacco tax in the coming 2015/16 fiscal year.

The proposed increase will send the levy on a pack of cigarettes to HK$76 (US$9.80) from HK$38, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Thursday.

The tax hike is aimed at bringing down smoker numbers to a single-digit percentage of the city’s total population in two years, the report said.

It would take a price tag of as much as HK$106 on a pack of cigarettes to discourage smoking, the council found after a survey of 2,419 people, including 819 non-smokers, 800 quitters and 800 smokers. The survey was carried out between May and September last year.

About 73 percent of respondents supported a hike in the tobacco tax every year.

Tobacco retailers, however, said higher levy will only boost illegal transactions and hurt legitimate sellers of cigarettes and law-abiding smokers.

– Contact us at [email protected]

VW/JP/RC

Freelance journalist

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe