China: Hong Kong Pushes for Larger Warnings

Hong Kong wants to increase the size and number of graphic images accompanying health warning on cigarette packs, reports The South China Morning Post.

Cigarette packaging has remained the same since 2007 and it is time for the government to overhaul packaging, according to Undersecretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee.

Under the plan, the size of warnings on cigarette packs would increase to cover 85 percent of the pack, from the current 50 per cent, and the number of graphic designs would double from six to 12.

Chan said Hong Kong's measures to deter smokers were fairer to the industry and the public than those in some other countries, which had legislated unbranded plain packaging or given increased prominence to shocking pictures.

"We haven't gone to plain packaging yet," she said. "We felt that this is something we can do to protect people from smoking."

Department of Health data from 2012 showed the number of Hong Kong residents who smoke had dropped to a low of 10.2 percent of the population. Enditem