The tobacco industry will have to fork out at least $600 million if the government forces companies to carry graphic health warnings on cigarette packets, according to a trade organisation. But Soh Szu-wei, chairman of the newly-established Tobacco Association of Hong Kong, said it would be up to individual companies to decide if the additional costs were passed on to consumers. Speaking at the association's launch yesterday, Mr Soh said the government had not been thorough in seeking the industry's views before gazetting the anti-smoking bill last Friday. Under the bill, tobacco products will have to bear graphic, pictorial health warnings which would occupy at least half of the surface area of the packet. Association vice-chairman Tomohiro Maruyama said the government's plan to ban the use of the words 'light' and 'mild' or 'low tar' on cigarettes packets would only confuse smokers. 'There is no conclusive evidence that graphic health warnings have reduced actual consumption or changed smoking behaviour,' Mr Maruyama said. Mr Soh said: 'The amendment bill reflects an incorrect approach by the government to achieve public health objectives, and at the expense of equally important principles that make Hong Kong a world-class business hub. 'The bill won't work in the best interest of the unique environment of Hong Kong,' he said. The association is seeking talks with Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow Yat-ngok.