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Inbound duty-free tobacco to be banned in Hong Kong

Travellers will be unable to carry duty-free tobacco from August 1 2010

The Hong Kong government is to abolish duty-free concessions on tobacco products for incoming travellers from August 1. The ban was proposed by Hong Kong financial secretary John Tsang in his budget speech earlier this year in order to "further protect public health".

DFNIonline understands that incoming passengers will be able to carry up to 19 cigarettes (one open pack of cigarettes); or one stick or 25g of cigar for personal consumption and to facilitate law enforcement. Passengers who ignore these limits will be required to declare their products and pay the relevant duty.

European Travel Retail Council secretary general Keith Spinks told DFNIonline: "At one time the inbound tobacco allowance in Hong Kong was 100 cigarettes for people crossing the border from China to Hong Kong. Now it is 60 cigarettes for all arriving passengers. It is, therefore, hardly surprising they have now abolished the allowance completely."

According to Spinks, the industry must monitor the situation and anticipate further bans on inbound tobacco allowances. "My concern is that bans [on inbound tobacco allowances] will be implemented in other countries, which is something the industry must watch out for. The anti-tobacco lobby is looking at where it is going on banning duty-free tobacco sales and if nobody is prepared to ban [duty-free tobacco] sales, they may be prepared to ban inbound allowances like in Singapore and Hong Kong."