ST Forum writer says Singapore should take a leaf from New Zealand’s cigarette ban

By December 14, 2021Current, Perspectives

TL;DR – Imposed a total ban on tobacco sales for Singapore too.

New Zealand is planning to raise the legal smoking age by one year every year, effectively banning the sale of tobacco to those born after 2008.

From 2027 onwards, it will be illegal for anyone aged 14 and under to buy cigarettes, and the ban will remain in place for the rest of the person’s life. In other words, a person aged 60 in 2073 will be banned from buying cigarettes, while a person aged 61 would be allowed to do so.

Straits Times Forum writer Mr Bennie Cheok must have been impressed by the bold move from the New Zealand government and hence proposes that Singapore take a leaf from them too.

He explains that while Singapore is doing well in its effort to discourage smoking among the young, many teenagers and young adults are still taking up smoking. This could be due to peer pressure or the thinking that smoking is cool, he adds.

The writer opines that more can be done to discourage the young from taking their first puff, adding that the media and schools can play a positive role by spreading the message that smoking is detrimental to one’s health and warning them of the severe consequences that come with it.

Here is his full letter,

New Zealand’s move to eradicate smoking by banning the young from ever buying cigarettes is innovative and courageous (New Zealand to ban smoking for future generations, Dec 10).

Singapore is doing well in its efforts to discourage smoking among the young. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy, sell and use tobacco products. The age limit was raised this year from 20.

Many public areas are smoke-free, including some parks.

However, many teenagers and young adults are still taking up smoking. It could be due to peer pressure or the thinking that smoking is cool.

More can be done, and the media can play a positive role by spreading the message that smoking is detrimental to one’s health.

Schools can join in the chorus for students not to take the first puff, and warn of the severe consequences that come with it.

And there are few better ways for parents to show their love for their children than by constantly reminding them of the harmful effects of tobacco use.

Even if Singapore does not follow New Zealand’s move, it certainly provides food for thought.

It seems that Mr Bennie Cheok isn’t the only one who feels strongly about this issue. In January this year, another Straits Times forum writer Mr Kevin Chua Hock Meng has also wrote into the forum, calling for a total ban on smoking.

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What do you think? Do you agree that Singapore should impose a ban on smoking to create a smoke-free generation like New Zealand?

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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