HomeNews EventsNewsTackling tobacco use requires multi-pronged approach

Tackling tobacco use requires multi-pronged approach

10 Oct 2017

Photo from FreeImages/Kia Abell

In addition to overeating and lack of physical activity, smoking is one of many Singaporeans’ poor lifestyle choices and habits, said Dean, Professor Chia Kee Seng.

While the country has made significant progress in smoking control, the proportion of smokers among Singaporeans has plateaued over the past 10 to 15 years, indicating a significant number of new smokers each year.

“The majority of them are young, and the tobacco industry is targeting them precisely because research has shown that if an individual does not start smoking by the age of 21, he or she is unlikely to pick up the habit thereafter,” said Prof Chia.

In order to lower the smoking prevalence and tackle tobacco use in Singapore, a multi-pronged approach combining laws and education is necessary. Taxation, raising the minimum legal age of smoking and banning alternative tobacco products — these measures on their own are not enough and need to be implemented together for effective smoking control.

However, such macro-level measures are “often deemed as punitive or infringing on personal liberties”, Prof Chia added, so it is important that the rationale and context behind these measures are explained to the public.

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