COSH response to the tobacco control policies proposed by The Budget
Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) expressed disappointment for the decision of the Financial Secretary in the Budget this year that the tobacco tax will not be raised continuously. However, the Secretary acknowledged that increasing tobacco duty is an effective means of tobacco control and Hong Kong's tax rate is lower than world standard. The Council urged the Secretary to fulfill his promise, closely monitor the effectiveness of tobacco control measures in Hong Kong and consider increasing the tobacco tax.
Ms. Lisa LAU, COSH Chairman reiterated, "The government should set the tobacco tax increase as a long-term tobacco control policy. An annual increase of at least 15% on tobacco tax is expected to reach the international standard of tobacco tax accounting for 75-80% of the cigarette retail price, which would effectively protect health of the public and their next generation as well as promote smoking cessation. At the same time, the Council hoped that the Government will continue to allocate more resources to help smokers quit smoking, so that the financial burden of both the government and the public on curing the diseases related to smoking and secondhand smoke can be reduced ultimately. "
Nevertheless, the Council welcomed the cancellation of duty-free concessions granted to bring tobacco products into Hong Kong. It is believed that this new tobacco control measure will further strengthen the tobacco control policy, indirectly persuade people not to smoke and effectively reduce tobacco consumption.