Cigarette consumption rises in Hong Kong after smoking ban

January 31st, 2009 - 7:54 am ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Jan 31 (DPA) Cigarette consumption in Hong Kong is up almost 14 percent since a smoking ban was introduced in the city two years ago, a news report said Saturday.Government figures quoted by the South China Morning Post show that 3.79 billion cigarettes were bought in 2008, compared to 3.33 billion the previous year.

Anti-smoking campaigners quoted by the newspaper said they wanted taxes on cigarettes in the city of 6.9 million raised significantly in the government’s annual budget in order to reverse the trend.

A pack of cigarettes in Hong Kong costs an average of 30 Hong Kong dollars ($3.86), about half the price of a pack in Singapore and Australia.

Smoking was banned in restaurants and bars in Hong Kong in 2006, but karaoke bars, nightclubs and thousands of bars that don’t serve food were granted exemptions until July 2009.

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