Let cabbies trying to quit smoking use e-cigarettes

Mr Mohammed Saleem Mohammed Ibrahim's suggestion to allow the regulated use of e-cigarettes for smokers who are genuine about quitting will take time to be considered (Allow e-cigarettes for smokers genuine about quitting; May 17). However, we should swiftly supply e-cigarettes to one group of people - taxi and private-hire car drivers who smoke in their vehicles.

Education and enforcement have failed to stop many such drivers from smoking while driving. Although they smoke when they have no passengers, the residual compounds from their cigarette smoke cannot be removed from their vehicles and are a long-lasting health hazard to passengers.

Passengers who smell cigarette smoke may not be able to reject the ride if they have already paid for it via a booking app.

E-cigarettes can reduce the risks of third-hand smoke and potentially prevent passengers from developing lung cancer or other diseases.

Such drivers should be allowed to buy one vaping device and a limited monthly supply of substrate at pharmacies. Sales can be confined to just this group if pharmacists cross-reference all purchases against vocational driving licence numbers - similar to how they currently use identity card numbers to check the amount of potent cough mixtures already supplied to a person.

The risk of such focused sales is small but is of big benefit to passengers who do not have to risk exposure to third-hand smoke.

If this scheme is found to be practical, it can be extended to entrenched smokers who smoke at home. This will better protect their families and neighbours.

Lee Pheng Soon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 27, 2018, with the headline 'Let cabbies trying to quit smoking use e-cigarettes'. Print Edition | Subscribe