Our long-standing research on cessation and policy has had substantial contribution to the leading role of Hong Kong in tobacco control and as one of the region with lowest smoking prevalence. Our smoking related policy survey findings of strong public support on cigarette pictorial warning has provided key evidence for the government’s proposed extension of pictorial warning coverage from 50% to 85% of cigarette packs, of which the legislation has taken effect since June 2018 . The SPS has also supported the Food and Health Bureau to initiate policy on total ban on new tobacco products in 2015 . Our findings on the effect of tobacco taxation on reducing smoking prevalence on adolescent (citing our adolescent studies with School of Public Health, HKU) is one of the leading justifications for the policymakers to increase tobacco tax for 11.7% in 2014. Our publications were also cited in the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health’s (COSH) advocacy on various tobacco control policies e.g. pictorial warning, tobacco tax, extension of smokefree areas and banning new tobacco products .
Our contributions to these health and economic policies have been accounted for better health in Hong Kong’s population. Our school-based studies found a 51% reduction in adolescent smoking in Hong Kong after tobacco tax had increased by 50% in 2009, which in order words, at least 6726 future deaths attributed to tobacco-related diseases had been prevented. The Surveys revealed that increasing tax and smokefree area was effective in reducing smoking prevalence from 9.6% in 2004 to 3.4% in 2011, which is the key evidence Legislators used to support the further 40% increase in tobacco tax in 2011 [4-8]. The decline in the aged-15-and-above smoking prevalence from 14.4% in 2003 to the new record low of 10.0% in 2017 also reflected our sustained efforts in tobacco control advocacy. Our work on extending smoke-free areas and raising tobacco tax contributed to the sharp decline in the age-standardized incident rate of lung cancer (in which cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor) in males from 64 to 54 per 100000 standard population between 2006 and 2010.
Our researches have been widely disseminated through many press conferences, online and printed media to different government organizations, NGOs, media, tobacco advocacy groups, academic institutions, local and regional partners. All these have substantial implications for smoking de-normalisation and tobacco control development in Hong Kong.
Comprehensive Smoke-free Law in 2000 in Hong Kong
Hedley AJ, McGhee SM, Lam TH. A Critical Appraisal and Rebuttal of the KPMG Hong Kong Report:” proposed Smoking Ban: Impacts on Hong Kong Hospitality Businesses”. Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong; 2002. http://library.legco.gov.hk:1080/articles/1064925.74346/1.PDF
McGhee SM, Hedley AJ, Lam TH. Does the Government’s Proposal to Create Smoke-free Catering Facilities in Restaurants, Cafes, Bars and Karaokes Influence the Intentions of Tourists to Visit Hong Kong and to Patronise Catering Venues: Studies of Air, Ferry and Rail Travellers to Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Health Services Research Group, Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong; 2002 Mar. http://library.legco.gov.hk:1080/articles/1064937.74364/1.PDF