Hong Kong - Council on Smoking and Health has called for a raise in tobacco tax to at least 75% of retail price..

Hong Kong Seal..

January 24, 2011 - The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health has called on the financial secretary to raise the tobacco tax from 62 percent to at least 75 percent of the retail price to discourage young people and encourage smokers to kick the habit. (Hong Kong - cigarettes too cheap, tax only 61 and 66 percent of retail price..)

"If the government increases the tobacco tax rate to 75 percent, a pack of cigarettes would cost HK$60," (7.69 USD) said Ho Man- kit, founder and convener of Momentum 107.

Local writer, commentator and avid smoker Mer Lee Cho-kwan has rallied pro-smoking groups to oppose further increases in tobacco tax. "The cigarette is my best partner. I will be furious if the government increases the tax," said Lee, convener of the two- year-old I Smoke Alliance and a smoker for 35 years. A petition opposing further tax hikes was jointly organized in Mong Kok yesterday by the alliance and Momentum 107. Organizers said they collected 3,000 signatures.

"A pack of cigarettes costs HK$39 (5.00 USD) while a pack of illicit cigarettes costs from HK$20 (2.57 USD) to HK$30 (3.85 USD). Rich people can still afford theirs but poor people need to buy the illicit cigarettes," said Lee, who spends HK$1,600 (205.20 USD) a month on her habit.

Pressure groups I Smoke Alliance and Momentum 107 have joined hands to call on Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah not to increase tobacco tax in the budget because it would drive more people to smoke contraband cigarettes. (Smuggled smokes fear as groups plead for break on tobacco tax, Serinah Ho, theStandard.com, 12/20/2010)

April 12, 2009 - Cigarette smuggling trade soars in Hong Kong after tax increase. The tax on cigarettes in Hong Kong was pushed up 50 percent Wednesday, February 25, 2009 to try to curb a worrying increase in smokers. The increase pushes the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes to almost 5 US dollars, still around half the price of cigarettes in Singapore or Australia.
Reference: Smokers hot under the collar over tobacco tax, SAMSON LEE, theStandard.com, 1/24/2011.

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