Reduce number of shops selling cigarettes

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has made laudable efforts to prohibit the unlawful sale of tobacco products to minors ("Cig sales to minors: Shop's licence revoked"; Jan 14).

However, I am unconvinced that the enforcement exercise is efficacious.

There are thousands of outlets selling cigarettes. Some also operate round the clock.

It is hard to believe that all employees manning these outlets will consistently bear with the trouble or, worse, abuse arising from the refusal to sell cigarettes to underage smokers.

Even if one outlet refuses to sell to a minor, he can easily find a nearby one that will.

The crux of the problem is that there are too many outlets selling cigarettes, thus rendering cost-effective enforcement impossible.

Therefore, I propose that the HSA progressively reduce the number of tobacco retail licences issued.

Nicotine is a poisonous and cancer-causing substance, and its availability must be restricted, not facilitated and found on every street corner, as it is now.

Ang Ah Lay