• May 26, 2024

Hong Kong Mulls Higher Tobacco Tax

 Hong Kong Mulls Higher Tobacco Tax
Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

Authorities in Hong Kong are considering a further increase in tobacco duty, reports South China Morning Post, citing the city’s health minister.  

Lo Chung-mau, secretary for health, did not confirm whether the measure would be included in Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po’s budget next month. Tobacco taxes were previously increased in February 2023 by HKD0.60 ($0.07) per cigarette. A pack of 20 cigarettes now costs around HKD78.

“Data from the World Health Organization and the global experience proves that an increase in tobacco tax is one of the most effective methods [to reduce smoking]. We will definitely consider it,” Lo said.

Following last year’s tax increase, calls to the government’s smoking cessation hotline increased threefold to fourfold, showing that the move was effective to encourage people to quit smoking, according to Lo. The current smoking rate is 9.5 percent, and authorities hope to cut that down to 7.8 percent by next year.

Currently, tobacco duty accounts for 64 percent of cigarette retail price in Hong Kong. The World Health Organization recommends 75 percent.

The government is currently analyzing data from a public consultation on its tobacco control plans. Lo stated that the government aims to deliver short-term and long-term strategies.