HomeNews EventsNewsDon’t aim to be smoke-lite, aim to be smoke-free

Don’t aim to be smoke-lite, aim to be smoke-free

06 Oct 2017

The smoking prevalence in Singapore has dropped significantly from 20 per cent in 1984 to 13.3 per cent in 2013. However, it has plateaued over the last 10 years, indicating that the proportion of new smokers has gone up to ‘replace’ those who have died from or quit smoking.

This means more aggressive efforts are needed to stop people from picking up the habit.

Seeing as eighty per cent of smokers are addicted before the age of 21, the Bill tabled early this week to raise the minimum legal age for smoking from 18 to 21 years highlights the importance of curbing youth smoking initiation. A step in the right direction, raising the minimum legal age reduces youths’ exposure to cigarettes in their adolescence, the period of greatest peer affiliation and susceptibility to peer influence.

But looking at Singapore’s aim to reduce its smoking prevalence to 12 per cent by 2020, Dean, Professor Chia Kee Seng worries that current and proposed measures may not be sufficient, even questioning if we have underset the target for 2020.

He added that the objective should be to de-normalise tobacco use, rather than merely control the tobacco epidemic, and eventually completely phase out tobacco smoking.

Ultimately, we should not settle for being a smoke-lite nation, but aim to be a smoke-free Singapore.

Read more in Prof Chia’s commentary:


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