YOUR correspondent Robin Parke (Sunday Post , October 23) raises the issue of how sporting events would survive without the sponsorship assistance of tobacco companies. Since 1987 in Victoria, the introduction of a small percentage tax on tobacco has allowed my organisation to undertake a tobacco replacement programme which is now being used as a model across Australia and other countries. The money raised by the tax is offered to organisations that were traditionally funded by tobacco companies. The new sponsorship programme has effectively severed these former links between sport and tobacco while in no way threatening the financial base of sporting and cultural bodies. In addition, the events which previously were used to recruit smokers are now used to promote the benefits of not smoking and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Even organisations with no previous relationship with the tobacco industry are able to receive funding to encourage participation in healthy pursuits. The tax also has the effect of increasing the price of cigarettes which acts as a disincentive for young people to take up smoking. And if taxes can ever be popular, the tobacco levy enjoys broad community support because the money raised is used to support a wide range of health promotion initiatives. The VicHealth model is a proven viable alternative to tobacco sponsorship which allows all Hong Kong residents to continue to enjoy the performances of the world's top athletes while at the same time providing support for all sports at the grass roots level.