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Press Release

Tie the Green Ribbon to Show Your Support to Smoke-free HK
2011.03.20
Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH), together with School of Public Health and School of Nursing of The University of Hong Kong coordinated the “Smoke-free Hong Kong Green Ribbon Action” to call for support from the general public for the 41.5% tobacco tax raise for the sake of the public health and establishment of a smoke-free environment.

The Government raised tobacco tax as a means of tobacco control for public health protection. “China has become a party to the “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)” of World Health Organization (WHO), and Hong Kong Government is responsible to raise the price of the tobacco products by raising tobacco tax to effectively reduce and prevent people from smoking” stated Ms Lisa LAU, Chairman of COSH.

Since the increase in tobacco tax in 2009, the percentage of smokers aged 15-29 remarkably reduced by 10%. It indicates that the raising of tobacco tax will encourage smoking cessation and reduce the desire of people to start smoking, especially for young people who are most sensitive to price. Besides, it also reduces the change of relapse among ex-smokers.

Tobacco causes death is an indisputable fact. Prof. Tai-Hing Lam, JP, Sir Robert Kotewall Professor in Public Health, Head of School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong pointed out that studies suggest that “As one out of two smokers (50%) will be killed by smoking induced diseases, meaning that 380,000 of the current 760,000 smokers will die from smoking if they do not quit immediately. And about 7000 deaths are due to active and passive smoking each year. The tobacco tax raise is also the most effective way to protect the 88% Hong Kong people who are non-smokers against the harm from second-hand smoke.”

The Government and many medical associations have enhanced the smoking cessation services to help smokers to quit smoking. Prof. Sophia Chan, Head of School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong mentioned that many critical illness could be avoided if one could quit smoking early. There are many experienced counselors on smoking cessation who are enthusiastic in helping smokers to quit smoking.

COSH has received positive support for tobacco tax raise from over 200 organizations from various sectors and nearly 30,000 students in Hong Kong since November 2010. On Green Ribbon Action day, 250 citizens tied a green ribbon onto the “Smoke-free Tree” to show their wills of establishing a smoke-free Hong Kong. COSH urges both the Legislative Council Members and the community join hands with us to support the tobacco tax raise.

List of supporting organizations

Event photos of the Green Ribbon Action:

Citizens tied the green ribbon on the “Smoke-free Tree” to show their wills of establishing a smoke-free Hong Kong:
Citizens tied the green ribbon on the “Smoke-free Tree” to show their wills of establishing a smoke-free Hong Kong

Citizens tied the green ribbon on the “Smoke-free Tree” to show their wills of establishing a smoke-free Hong Kong

Citizens tied the green ribbon on the “Smoke-free Tree” to show their wills of establishing a smoke-free Hong Kong

Citizens raised the “Tax-to-Quit” banners and signage for support:
Citizens raised the “Tax-to-Quit” banners and signage for support

Citizens raised the “Tax-to-Quit” banners and signage for support

Citizens raised the “Tax-to-Quit” banners and signage for support

Ms. Lisa LAU, Chairman of COSH, delivered the speech:
Ms. Lisa LAU, Chairman of COSH, delivered the speech

Prof. TH Lam, Head of School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong, made the speech:
Prof. TH Lam, Head of School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong, made the speech
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