Minimum legal age for smoking to be raised to 21

A man smoking a cigarette under a shelter.
A man smoking a cigarette under a shelter. PHOTO: ST FILE

To deter young people from taking their first puff, the minimum legal age for smoking will be bumped up from 18 to 21.

The legislative changes will be proposed in Parliament within a year, and phased in over a few years.

The restriction will cover the sale of tobacco products, as well as the purchase, use and possession of tobacco products by under-21s.

Speaking during the debate in Parliament on the Health Ministry's budget yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said that nearly half of smokers here establish a regular habit before they turn 21.

Raising the legal age is a further step to "reduce, if not eliminate, the opportunities for our young to be tempted and take up smoking before 21", said Dr Khor.

Singapore will follow some parts of the United States which have enforced such a law.

Public consultations, held from December 2015 to March last year, showed considerable support for raising the minimum legal age, said Dr Khor.

"We want to protect our young from the harms of tobacco, and lay the foundation for good health."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2017, with the headline 'Minimum legal age for smoking to be raised to 21'. Print Edition | Subscribe