Tobacco tax to increase

The Health Bureau (SS) has plans to raise the tobacco tax prior to the anti-smoking law becoming effective on January 1, 2012.

SS director Lei Chin Ion told reporters yesterday the bureau has proposed a rise in the tax to the Economic Services Bureau and is now working on several administrative regulations to accompany the anti-smoking law, according to TDM news.

The anti-smoking law was published yesterday in the Official Gazette. The law will restrict smoking to designated indoor areas from January 1, 2012, and casinos will be required to maintain a smoking area not larger than 50 percent of a total public area, effective January 1, 2013.

The Health Bureau has proposed a rise in tobacco tax and is now working on several administrative regulations to accompany the anti-smoking law

The Health Bureau has proposed a rise in tobacco tax and is now working on several administrative regulations to accompany the anti-smoking law

According to Lei, there’s an ongoing study on air quality inside local casinos which results will be probably be published in six months.

Bars, dance halls, sauna and massage parlours will also be permitted a three-year grace period before a full smoking ban is applied on January 1, 2015.

New sales requirements of tobacco products such as labels, packaging and tar level indicators will be effective beginning 2013.

Lei said yesterday the SS is reinforcing training for tobacco control inspectors and has invited experienced personnel from security forces to become instructors.

Campaigns to publicise the new law will also be launched so that smokers ‘determined to quit the habit’ will be able to receive the related services and people can also be more aware of the adverse health impacts of second-hand smoke, the SS chief said.

Macau’s tobacco tax was last adjusted in May 2009, where the cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes increased by MOP 3 and tax jumped four-fold from MOP 1 to MOP 4.

The Resources Centre for Cancer Patients was launched at the Conde de São Januário Hospital yesterday, which provides a variety of services including multi-purpose rooms, consultations, education, events and a library.

Doctors, nurses, nutritionists and social workers will also be stationed at the centre.

According to statistics there were around 1,200 cancer patients and 500 deaths reported in Macau in 2010. Lung and colorectal cancer have remained the two top cancer killers in Macau, according to official data.

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