Opinion about Tobacco Tax in HK
Firstly, I support the imposition and increase in tobacco tax. I believe that it could give more incentives for people to quit smoking, especially the younger smokers. Why? Because they are influenced by peer pressure. Moreover, they are still young and may not have been a routine smoker for so long and it would be easier for them to quit.
After the imposition of tobacco tax, as the price greatly increased, their affordability may decrease thus reduce their incentive in smoking. For the adult or routine smokers, they should already have experienced or known much about the negative impact of smoking, but may just be lacking of an incentive to quit it. Therefore, I believe that the increase in price could encourage more people to quit smoking or at least smoke less.
Secondly, I agree with the news that the government should enforce the law to prevent cigarette smuggling. The number of smokers in Hong Kong still remains roughly the same after a tax was imposed. However, some legal smoke sellers claim that the soaring price scares away many customers. Hence, it shows that there may be more people smuggling cigarettes. This is not only reducing the positive effects of the tobacco tax, but it also brings out another drawback. Those illegal cigarettes could be made of more harmful or addictive substances which cause more negative impact to the smokers health.
Therefore, I think that the government should intensify the penalty of cigarette smuggling in order to tackle the problem in a more rounded way.
Thirdly, some people suggested raising the duty tax to 73percent of the total price as suggested by the WHO. I agree with this idea but I think we should do it gradually. As we all know, after the increase in tobacco tax, some of the legal smoke sellers income has dropped significantly and as the legal tobacco has become more expensive, more people have turned to buy tobacco in the black market. Therefore, even though it is reasonable for us to follow the guidelines from WHO, I think Hong Kong should also have its own schedule and gradually increase the tax.
Furthermore, I think the government should provide more social help or follow-ups for smokers. For example, they may set-up more hotlines for smokers to call-in and provide more information to the general public via advertisements or workshops, so that people could know more about the negative impact of smoking and where to get help to quit smoking.
To sum up, I agree with the increase in the tobacco tax in Hong Kong as it may provide more incentives for smokers to quit smoking. Moreover, I also hope that the government continues to keep an eye on the public health issues and implement some policies which are beneficial to public health in the future.