Smokers have paid their dues

Smokers are already paying heavy taxes which the Government levies on cigarettes - $8.12, inclusive of GST on duty, for each packet (Impose cigarette tax to offset smokers' medical bills, by Mr Tan Yang Ching, Forum Online, July 16; and Need to get smokers to smoke responsibly by Professor Chia Kee Seng, July 17).

In 2014, taxes collected from tobacco alone in Singapore amounted to $1.13 billion.

This far outweighs the $673 million to $839 million "social costs" of smoking that the Health Promotion Board has cited (More can be done to stub it out, says expert; July 9).

This is on top of the fact that the Government does not subsidise 100 per cent of the healthcare costs incurred.

Also, it is a widely accepted fact that smokers have a lower life expectancy than non-smokers.

I am all for reducing smoking to increase life expectancy.

However, we need to get rid of the illusion that the Government is picking up the tab for smokers' medical expenses.

We cannot ignore the fact that tobacco products are perfectly legal and smokers have already paid their dues via heavy taxes on tobacco products.

Jerome Lim Chin Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Smokers have paid their dues'. Print Edition | Subscribe