Campaigners want tobacco tax doubled
An anti-smoking body is calling on the government to double tobacco tax in a bid to reduce the overall smoking rate in Hong Kong.
The current tax rate on a pack of cigarettes is about 63 percent. Doubling that would see the price of cigarettes sold in the territory rise from around HK$60 to HK$100.
Vienna Lai Wai-yin, the executive director of the Council on Smoking and Health, said tobacco tax in the city was raised by 300 percent and 100 percent in 1983 and 1991 respectively, which led to an 8.4 percent fall in the number of smokers.
She said the fall in the number of smokers justified that increasing tobacco tax is an effective way to help smokers drop the habit.
Meanwhile, the council suggested authorities use the extra income after the tax hike on poverty alleviation, as well as in healthcare and programs on smoking cessation.