• April 18, 2024

Hong Kong Urged to Raise Taxes

 Hong Kong Urged to Raise Taxes
Photo: IB Photography

The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) has called on the city’s government to increase the tobacco tax by at least three quarters in the 2024-2025 budget, reports the South China Morning Post.  

Such a raise would bring the levy in line with the World Health Organization’s recommendation for taxes to account for 75 percent or more of cigarettes’ retail price. The proposed tax hike will push up the cigarette retail price to about HKD115 ($14.70) per pack, a potential tipping point for many smokers to consider cessation. 

The move will also help Hong Kong achieve its goal of reducing smoking prevalence to 7.8 percent by 2025, according to the COSH. The smoking prevalence in Hong Kong was 9.5 percent in 2021. 

COSH also advocates for an automatic tax increase mechanism for future annual tax hikes, adjusted to counteract the effects of inflation and income growth, and avoid the tax’s proportion in the overall retail price of cigarettes being decreased by industry price hikes.

 According to the COSH, raising the tobacco tax requires the least implementation costs and enforcement resources, and the shortest time for legislation and implementation, while delivering the quickest and most significant results.