Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Jun 10, 2023

Hong Kong survey sparks row over whether high taxation discourages smoking

Hong Kong survey sparks row over whether high taxation discourages smoking

About 80 per cent of smokers predict doubling of tax will increase reliance on black market cigarettes, survey finds.

Doubling Hong Kong’s tobacco tax will drive smokers towards cheaper illicit cigarettes rather than discourage the habit, a lobby group has warned, citing the concerns of 80 per cent of users surveyed.

But the findings of the poll of more than 2,000 smokers and non-smokers released on Tuesday were immediately attacked by the government’s anti-tobacco advisers, who said the illicit trade in cigarettes had thrived for years even though the tax rate had remained unchanged.

The pro-smoking Long-term Tobacco Policy Concern Group interviewed 1,005 smokers and 1,010 non-smokers aged 18 or over in the street in December 2020 and again this month.

Anti-smoking campaigners insist higher tobacco taxes will encourage people to quit smoking and help meet government health targets.

The poll was released in response to the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health proposal last year to increase the tax rate, which would push the cost of cigarettes to almost HK$100 (US$12.75) a pack.

Joe Lo Kai-lut, the convenor of the pro-smoking concern group, said 80 per cent of smokers said they expected people would switch to cheaper options such as black market cigarettes after a tax increase. He added 73 per cent of non-smokers in the poll held the same opinion.

“The survey indicates that buying illicit cigarettes is quite easy,” Lo said. “Under this situation, increasing the tobacco tax to a great degree will push smokers to purchase illicit cigarettes, making the trade of such cigarettes more rampant.”

Lo highlighted that 67 per cent of smokers in the poll also said they had either seen or heard information on the sale of illicit cigarettes.

The government last year set a goal to reduce tobacco use from 9.5 per cent of the population to 7.8 per cent by 2025.

The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, a government advisory group, proposed a 100 per cent increase in the tobacco levy last year as a first step towards the target.

But Lo said 68 per cent of respondents believed that tobacco control measures would not be effective if the black market in cigarettes was not stopped.

About 77 per cent of those surveyed agreed that the problem of illicit cigarettes existed in Hong Kong.

The poll found that 67 per cent of smokers and 57 per cent of non-smokers believed that it was easy for adults to source illicit tobacco products.

Lo added tobacco tax increases between 1983 and 1993 were effective in cutting tobacco use, but may not be at present because of the online sale of illicit cigarettes.

“People can now have illicit cigarettes delivered to their home by making a call or sending a text on WhatsApp or WeChat,” he said.

Lo’s group suggested the government introduce long-term measures such as the prevention or reduction of access to tobacco products by the young.

The group also suggested more education on stopping smoking, allowing the sale of e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes and a cut in the number of public smoking areas.

But Henry Tong Sau-chai, the chairman of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, disagreed with the survey’s findings.

He added that there was no evidence the level of tax on tobacco had a direct relation to the sale of illicit cigarettes.

“Hong Kong has not raised tobacco tax for nine years, but the illicit cigarette trade still continues,” he said.

Tong highlighted that a survey carried out by the University of Hong Kong last year found 67 per cent of 1,719 smokers canvassed said they would either reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked or quit altogether if the price increased.

He said that was proof that increased taxation would be an effective way to reduce smoking.

AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
The Fed fixing the economy
Corporations standing up for “LGDP-LGT-LBG-LGBTQ2+ kids” during ‘Pride Month’ be like:
A Major Ukrainian Hydroelectric Dam BLOWN UP
US and European Intelligence Agencies Uncover Evidence of Ukrainian Role in Terror Attack on Nord Stream Pipeline
Photos and videos of Hunter Biden with underage minors have been released.
The driver has been described by authorities as a 21-year-old woman from Tallahassee
Joe Biden falls at the Air Force Graduation
America's Got Talent…
Elon Musk has been showered with praise by the Chinese public during his trip to China
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
Drone Attack on Moscow's Wealthiest Neighborhoods Suspected to be Launched by Ukraine
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. Air Force spy plane over South China Sea
Prominent Hacker Forum RaidForums Suffers Substantial Data Breach
Nvidia CEO Huang says firms, individuals without AI expertise will be left behind
WPP Revolutionizes Advertising with NVIDIA's AI Powerhouse
Two US Employees Fired For Chasing Robbers Out Of Store As They Broke ''Company Policy''
Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink - Smoke, Mirrors, and the Billion-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Deal: EU's 'Open Secret
The Sussexes' Royal Rebound: Could Harry and Meghan Markle Return to the UK?
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
Neuralink Receives FDA Approval for First-in-Human Clinical Study
Ukrainian Intelligence Official Admits to Assassination Attempts on Putin
WATCH THIS: democracy in Russia is so bad!
Ed Davey: It is possible for a woman to have a penis
Bernard Arnault Loses $11.2 Billion in One Day as Investors Fear Slowdown in US Growth Will Reduce Demand for Luxury Products
Russian’s Wagner Group leader: “I am not a chef, I am a butcher. Russia is in danger of a revolution like in 1917.”
TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App
Ron DeSantis Jumps Into 2024 Presidential Race, Setting Up Showdown With Trump
Steve Jobs introducing Apple's iPhone, exactly 16 years ago.
Banking Behemoth vs Ex-Boss: The PMorgan-Epstein Entanglement
China overtakes Japan as world's top car exporter
Talks between US House Republicans and President Biden's Democratic administration on raising the federal government's $31.4tn debt ceiling have paused
Biden Administration Eyeing High-Profile Visits to China: The Biden Administration is heating things up by looking into setting up a series of top-level visits to Beijing by top officials in the coming months
New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified
A French court of appeals confirmed former President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-year jail term for corruption and influence peddling
Debt Ceiling Crises Have Unleashed Political Chaos
Weibao Wang, a former software engineer at Apple, was charged with stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars
Mobile phone giant Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs globally over three years as new boss says its performance not good enough
Elon Musk compares George Soros to Magneto, the supervillain from the Marvel Comics series.
Warren Buffett Sells TSMC Shares Over Concerns About Taiwan's Stability
New Study Finds That Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia Is a Major Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients Who Require Ventilator Assistance
The official tapes of Trump's deposition in the E. Jean Carroll battery (rape) and defamation case have been released.
King Charles III being crowned.
Newly released video of Donald Trump’s rape trial deposition:
Video: Ukraine MP Punches Russian Representative At Global Meet
El Paso mayor has declared a state of emergency
Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in an attempt to kill Putin
Dutch court orders man who fathered 550 kids to stop donating sperm
Kim Kardashian Lookalike Christina Ashten Dies Of Cardiac Arrest, Hours After Plastic Surgery
Samsung has banned employees from using generative AI services such as ChatGPT
×