HK Gov’t Considers Cigarette Ban for Future Generations

HK Gov’t Considers Implementing Stricter Anti-smoking Measures for Next Three Years

Local news outlet RTHK reported on Tuesday that the Hong Kong government is considering completely banning future generations from buying tobacco products.

Health minister Lo Chung-mau said that the government may refer to other countries’ methods of deterring people from smoking cigarettes to assist their decision for further anti-smoking measures.

“We may continuously legislate to raise the minimum legal age for buying tobacco products, so that our future generations will stay away from tobacco products forever,” Lo was quoted as saying at a tobacco control seminar.

This reflects the methods implemented in some states in the United States and countries like Sri Lanka where the minimum age to purchase cigarettes was increased to 21 in the past few years.

Lo said the city’s smoking rate is currently at 9.5%, an improvement from 23% in the 1980s. Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu pledged to bring the percentage rate to 7.8% by 2025, calling for more proactive anti-smoking measures.

Other measures that have been floating around include creating a ‘smoke-free generation’ by banning the sale of cigarettes for entire age groups. New Zealand has adopted this approach by banning people born in or after 2008 from buying cigarettes.

Increasing the tobacco tax from the current price of HK$60 to HK$100 has also been proposed to the government by the Council on Smoking and Health.

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