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.
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