Radical action needed to stop people from smoking: Prof

Singapore and other countries should take radical action if they want to stop people smoking. One radical approach would be to adopt a recent propopsal to bar anyone born after 2000 from buying cigarettes, said tobacco control expert Ruth Malone.

Professor Malone of the University of California San Francisco nursing school, who edits the journal Tobacco Control, gave a lecture on the subject at the National Cancer Centre Singapore on Friday.

Educational programmes while helpful, she said, "don't really keep kids from taking up smoking". That is because the tobacco industry markets its wares to young people as a symbol of rebellion, she said.

In 2011, lung surgeon Koong Heng Nung and mathematician Jon Berrick proposed barring tobacco sales to those born after 2000. Prof Malone noted that there is more public support for such measures than policymakers often think, "I think all of these things are good to try at this point. What have we got to lose by trying them?" she said.