Easy availability of cigarettes the root of smoking problem

I am sceptical that raising the minimum age for smoking from 18 to 21 will stem the smoking problem in Singapore (New Bill to raise minimum smoking age to 21; Oct 3).

The National Environment Agency (NEA) is already struggling to enforce existing laws on smoking. NEA officers are not omnipresent and security officers of buildings are not empowered to take action against offenders.

Hence, smokers will continue to flout the laws.

Raising the minimum age also does not address the root of the problem - the easy availability of cigarettes here.

More action is needed by the Government and big businesses to curtail the easy accessibility and sale of cigarettes and tobacco products. Smoking has to be made both extremely expensive and inconvenient.

As a leading retailer, FairPrice can take the lead in stopping the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in all its outlets.

It is time businesses put the interest of people before profits.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2017, with the headline 'Easy availability of cigarettes the root of smoking problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe