Hong Kong Poised to Hike Cigarette Taxes
Hong Kong authorities are likely to announce a steep rise in the price of cigarettes next year, reports The Standard.
In an attempt to cut smoking prevalence to 7.8 percent by 2025 from 10.2 percent today, the special administrative region wants to increase the price of a pack of cigarettes to HKD100 ($12.82) from HKD59, Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health chairman Henry Tong Sau-chai said.
Raising the tobacco tax is the most effective way to achieve the goal, according to Tong, who noted that the tax rate has not been adjusted substantially over the decade.
The council is also proposing a “tobacco endgame,” a strategy that would include a ban on cigarette sales to people born after 2009.
Last year, a similar measure was adopted by New Zealand to create a smoke-free generation by prohibiting people born in or after 2009 from ever buying cigarettes.
Tong said the year 2009 was chosen because people born that year would turn 18 in 2027—the last year of the current government’s term.
Critics have warned that the council’s proposals will encourage smokers to buy their cigarettes on the black market. The government, they said, should instead work on combating illicit cigarettes and adopt a rational tobacco tax strategy.