Make costs of lighting up prohibitive

Although I am not a smoker, I disagree with Mr Lim Teck Koon's suggestion for the Government to reduce the number of tobacco retail outlets ("Retail outlets the weak link"; last Monday).

Reducing the number of tobacco retail outlets will only force smokers to go underground and away from the regulations.

There is already a plethora of laws to prevent people from obtaining cigarettes and to restrict smokers so their activities do not harm others.

However, the Government should not go further.

Adults should have the ability to decide what they consume.

If the authorities unilaterally decide what is morally right or wrong and take away a person's freedom to choose what he does with his own body, where will it stop? What will be banned next to protect the people from themselves?

People who really want to smoke will do it anyway. They know the dangers it can cause to not only themselves but also to others. It is their personal responsibility.

Rather than controlling the number of tobacco retail outlets, the Government should continue to tax cigarettes heavily and make it harder for people who smoke to get a health plan. Perhaps it could even make tobacco companies pay for the healthcare costs.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2016, with the headline 'Make costs of lighting up prohibitive'. Print Edition | Subscribe