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02 January 2008

Smoking ban ups smoking?

A year after smoking was banned in bars, restaurants and public places in Hong Kong, smoking levels have actually increased.

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A year after smoking was banned in bars, restaurants and public places in Hong Kong, smoking levels have actually increased, according to a recent survey.

Twelve million more cigarettes a month are being sold in Hong Kong with monthly consumption levels rising from 277 million in 2006 to 289 million in 2007, government figures show.

Smoking was banned in all bars, restaurants and public parks from January 1, 2006, with around 1,300 people so far fined up to 200 US dollars each for lighting up in prohibited areas.

However, under pressure from the catering industry, bars that serve food have been allowed to apply for exemptions from the ban and there remain around 1,000 bars across the city where smokers can still puff away.

Tobacco companies have also increased their marketing targeting younger people, campaigners say, offering free home delivery to people buying as few as two packets - something they say appeals to youngsters who cannot buy in shops.

Cigarettes remain relatively inexpensive in Hong Kong with prices of just three to four US dollars a pack and health campaigners say the government has not raised the tax on tobacco for seven years.

Hong Kong has one of the region's lowest levels of smoking. Only around one in five male adults in the city smoke compared to between 60 and 70 per cent in the rest of China. – (Sapa)

Read more:
Stop Smoking Centre January 2008

 
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