Researchers from the University of Hong Kong on Wednesday called on the government to raise tobacco tax to at least 75 percent of the retail price by next year, and move on to ban tobacco completely by 2030.
They made the suggestion in response to the government’s public consultation on tobacco control strategies, which will end later this month.
They said surveys they conducted showed a high level of public support for raising the tobacco tax to discourage people from smoking.
The experts added that they interviewed over 12,000 people between 2019 and 2021, and found that almost 70 percent of respondents support an outright ban on tobacco by 2030.
Daniel Ho, an associate professor from the HKU School of Public Health, said a tobacco-free Hong Kong is totally feasible, thanks to the city’s low smoking rate and caring culture.
"Different countries have different situations and different smoking patterns... Hong Kong's situation and our strengths would make us most feasible to successfully ban tobacco,” he said.
“If there is any place in the world that can successfully ban tobacco, it would be in Hong Kong.”
Ho and his team also called on people to put forward their views in the government’s public consultation, saying it’s “a golden opportunity to end the tobacco epidemic”.