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Smoking

For better public health, Hong Kong needs awareness more than a sugar tax 

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 May, 2018, 3:11pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 May, 2018, 3:11pm

I refer to the article, “Hong Kong health officials consider sugar tax to cure city of its bad health habits” (May 4).

I am glad to see that the Hong Kong government is proactively trying to tackle public health problems. Nevertheless, I do not believe that a sugar tax or higher alcohol duty can cure bad dietary and health habits, although it can provide incentives for some people not to eat unhealthy food.

To begin with, Hong Kong is an affluent city. If the government imposes a sugar tax, it may not have a great effect on the middle class or wealthier residents. As a result, the effect of such a tax would be limited.

The rich are betting they can buy their way to a longer life

Moreover, the sugar tax only focuses on one cause of weight issues and related diseases: an unhealthy diet. However, it cannot make people stop ignoring the importance of regular exercise, or make them quit smoking or drinking too much. 

Therefore, the crux of the problem, a lack of awareness about the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, would remain unchanged. So I believe public education is more crucial in tackling health problems in society. 

Tsui Kit Lam, Tsuen Wan