Set long-term goal of stubbing out smoking

With the unnecessary economic loss and untold human suffering brought about by smoking, it is time for Singapore to have a firm plan on how smoking can be eliminated ("Smoking cost the world $2 trillion in 2012: Study"; Feb 1).

We need clear targets like those of Finland, which aims to be smoke-free by 2040.

We can start by stopping our young from picking up smoking.

Anyone under the age of 18 caught using tobacco products must be made to take part in compulsory smoking cessation programmes.

Since it is no secret that a significant number of boys pick up smoking during their national service, stricter no-smoking rules should be enforced in this area.

The sale of tobacco products could be restricted to certain hours and in only approved supermarkets.

Also, the price of tobacco products should be made significantly higher.

Tougher enforcement and punishment should be imposed on people who are caught with contraband tobacco products. Those who supply these products should also be caned.

We need to bring back the TV advertisements on the terrible effects that smoking can have on our health and family.

We should target families so that they can put pressure on smokers in their homes to give up the habit.

Enforcement in no-smoking areas should be substantially stepped up so that smokers will not blatantly light up in the no-smoking zones.

The Government has to show commitment to a long-term goal. Every dollar collected from tobacco taxes should be spent to make Singapore a smoke-free country.

Christopher Leong Chi How

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2017, with the headline 'Set long-term goal of stubbing out smoking'. Print Edition | Subscribe