Hold smoke-free weekends for a healthier S'pore

The theme of this year's World No Tobacco Day, which falls today, is Tobacco and Heart Disease.

The World Health Organisation states that tobacco use is the largest cause of death and ailments such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and other health problems.

Singapore should consider initiating a day or even a whole weekend to kick-start a wellness-related effort towards a smokeless environment.

Though the young who smoke may not care how it affects their health, there are many others who do.

Doctors or nurses could hold health talks on the subject in schools regularly to ensure that the very young, who have yet to be exposed to friends who smoke, are educated on the dire impact of smoking.

This will help reiterate the idea that smoking should be avoided.

Also, children should learn that it is no longer a sign of maturity or being "macho" to be seen smoking in public.

As our small nation is currently still growing, having cleaner air is imperative.

For example, there could be regulations to ensure that future foreign workers who apply to come and work in our country are non-smokers.

This may be a tall order, but would send a signal to the world that we are serious about staying healthy.

Even though losing revenue from cigarettes is something to contend with, we may eventually see a day when Singapore will be smoke-free.

For a start, I appeal to the authorities to start smoke-free weekends in Singapore, so that families can enjoy such a treat in the parks and open outlets.

We can then add another item to our list of healthy efforts to stay "fit and fine'' besides being known only as being "clean and green''.

Vivien Tan (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2018, with the headline 'Hold smoke-free weekends for a healthier S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe