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About HKCFP > President’s Message

February 2017

Over the past two months, the College was invited by the Food and Health Bureau to submit our comments to Legco on two important issues: Proposal to Amend the Health Warnings on Packets and Retail Containers of Tobacco Products; and Proposed Regulatory Framework for Medical Devices.

Smoking is by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer and is the single greatest preventable cause of premature death in the world. Each year tobacco kills nearly 6 million people globally including more than 600,000 nonsmokers caused by exposure to second hand smoke. World Health Organization warns that at least one in two smokers will die prematurely due to smoking related diseases. In Hong Kong, smoking not only causes the loss of about 7,000 lives every year, but also incurs considerable medical expenses. A reduction of smoking prevalence would save a significant number of lives and lowering the economic and medical burden.

The most effective measures to reduce tobacco use and encourage smoking cessation are: Raising tobacco tax and to increase the size of health warning on cigarette packets.

The College supports the Government with the proposal

1. To cover 85% of the surface area of the two largest sides of cigarette packets or retail containers and to make suitable arrangement for the orientation of the health warnings (“the 85% proposal”). At least 2-3 % decrease in smoking prevalence is expected after implementing plain packaging or expanding the size of the health warning.

2. To update the health warnings and increase the number of forms of health warning from 6 to 12. In fact the most gruesome pictures serve as better preventive warning. This will also educate smokers of the numerous related diseases.

3. To include “QUIT SMOKING FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS 請為你的下一代戒煙” and Department of Health’s Quitline (1833183) in the health warning. This serves as better warning and reminder to the older and long term smokers.

For the “Proposed Regulatory Framework for Medical Devices”, College strongly supports the Government to introduce measures to regulate medical devices for cosmetic purposes. Quite a number of primary care doctors are involved in cosmetic procedures. We have the following comments:

1. Family Physicians may opt to participate in aesthetic procedures. HKCFP strongly recommends that they receive proper training by accredited institutions.

2. Plasma skin resurfacing is an invasive procedure with significant potential complications and must be considered under Use Control Category II.

3. For medical doctors involved in cosmetic treatment, a much higher premium is demanded for medical indemnity which is occurrence based. For beauty parlour, the indemnity is a key area to explore especially the same operator (if he/ she is not a medical professional) can close down the company and reopen under a different name.

4. All cosmetic procedures no matter how small the risk is and as long as risk and complications exist should be operated or supervised by registered Health Care Professionals as their practice will be subjected to the respective Professional Code of Conduct. Therefore for patient’s safety and indemnity purpose, both Category II and Category III of the Study should be grouped together and solely supervised on site by a registered medical practitioner.

5. HKCFP is keen to participate in the statutory Advisory Committee to advise Secretay of Food and Health Bureau on the implementation and administration of future legislation.

The 4th Cross Straits Conference on General Practice “第四屆海峽兩岸全科醫學大會” will happen at Xiamen, Fujian from 18th to 19th March 2017. Xiamen is just over one hour flight from Hong Kong. If you can spare a weekend, this is always a good platform to exchange our experience with Macau, Taiwan and Mainland counterparts. Join me if you can.

I must appeal on behalf of the Public Education Committee to have more writers, young or experienced. They are welcome to write for newspapers such as Hong Kong Economic Journal. The Committee has a selection procedure to choose articles that are beneficial to the general public and enhance the image of the College. Do contact Dr Allan Ngan if you have any good ideas. If you are a good reader, you will become a good writer under his wings!

Dr. Angus M W CHAN