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  • Nov 23, 2014
  • Updated: 3:30pm
NewsHong Kong

1 in 3 cigarettes smoked in Hong Kong are illegal, controversial study finds

Disputed report funded by tobacco industry giant claims contraband cigarettes cost the city billions in lost tax revenue last year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 October, 2013, 4:50am

About a third of all cigarettes smoked in Hong Kong are illegal and the city is losing out on billions in tax revenue as a result.

Those are the findings of a tobacco industry-funded report on the consumption of illegal tobacco in 11 Asian countries last year.

The study has been disputed by the government and anti-smoking groups.

The report, funded by tobacco giant Philip Morris, was published by the UK-based research institute Oxford Economics and the International Tax and Investment Centre, a lobbying group.

It says Hong Kong lost HK$3.3 billion in potential tax revenue last year as a result of an estimated 1.8 billion illegal cigarettes smoked.

As part of the study, about 10,000 empty cigarette packets were collected across the city last year. Based on their markings, the packs were then classified as either legal domestic, duty-free, counterfeit or illegal imports.

Overall estimates of the number of illegal cigarettes smoked were then derived from the sample collected. Packets left by tourists were not counted, the study said.

The report says "steep" tobacco tax increases introduced in Hong Kong in 2009 and 2011 further widened price differences with neighbouring countries, providing incentives for criminal groups to make gains.

But Lisa Lau Man-man, chairwoman of the Council on Smoking and Health, disagreed.

"Contraband cigarettes have existed ever since taxes were placed on tobacco," she said.

Lau saw no causal link between a high tobacco tax and the proliferation of illegal cigarettes.

Brunei had low tobacco tax but topped all the countries in the report in terms of prevalence of illegal cigarettes.

In response to the report, a senior customs official said measures combating illegal cigarettes at the source were effective and the situation was improving.

From January to August this year, customs officials seized 59.5 million illegal cigarettes, a 38 per cent year-on-year increase, and made 28 arrests in anti-smuggling raids.

During the same period, tax revenue from tobacco rose to HK$3.48 billion from HK$3.2 billion brought in over the same period the previous year.



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"ITIC and OE prepared the report in accordance with SPECIFIC TERMS OF REFERENCE agreed between Philip Morris Asia & ITIC. Financial support for the report was provided by PMI"
Ah yes so this must be true. You can definitely trust convicted racketeers who addict & kill children in pursuit of profits.
Big Tobacco smuggles its products to defeat Govt anti-tobacco measures. FACT
Kenneth Clarke admits smuggling: "Where any government is unwilling to act or their efforts are unsuccessful, we act, completely within the law, on the basis that our brands will be available alongside those of our competitors in the smuggled as well as the legitimate market"
RICO: U.S. v. Philip Morris et al Tobacco Cos guilty of conspiracy, racketeering & defrauding public.
"We don't smoke the shxt, we just sell it. We reserve that right for the young, the poor, the black and the stupid." - R.J. Reynolds executive The Times London, 02 Aug 1992
“If you are really & truly not going to sell to children, you are going to be out of business in 30 years.” - Bennett LeBow CEO of Brook Group
“Younger adult smokers are the only source of replacement smokers.If younger adults turn away from smoking, the industry must decline”- RJ Reynolds Feb 29 1984
Price measures stop youth smoking FACT
Marlboro price (HKD): Singapore 76, Brisbane 129, Dublin 90, HKG 50 -double it & mandate plain packs!
and 1 in 3 of the cigs smoked in the 'smoke free' pubs.
see who the Reporters are + who pulls their strings:
Illegal Pathways to Illegal ProfitsThe Big Tobacco Companies and International Smuggling
See what the axxholes get up to
Yunxiao-Marlboro Country
Profiting from terrorists
Smokescreen reports like today's
Tobacco and Terrorism
So Big Tobacco pays slimy puppet fronts to publish outlandish reports based on flimsy non peer reviewed evidence + expects everyone to believe them because they are really nice people selling addicted painful death for profit
Read this:
Tobacco is as addictive as heroin (as a mood & behavior altering agent).
Nicotine is:
◦1000 X more potent than alcohol
◦10-100 X more potent than barbiturates
◦5-10 X more potent than cocaine or morphine
They should be compelled to control supply chains i.e. shut off the tap + punished severely for lapses
Agreed with dynamco! Raise the tax on tobacco and save lives! Don't pander to the arguments of tobacco companies.


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