Gradual fight against tobacco addiction

While I do not smoke or like cigarette smoke, I find that the study by the University of Southern California will cloud rational judgment and that the argument for banning e-cigarettes because they may encourage more teenagers to take up smoking will be used as often as the argument that sex education encourages promiscuity ("Teens who try e-cigarettes more likely to start smoking - study"; ST Online, Aug 19).

We need to face up to certain realities. Despite every measure thrown at the tobacco industry and the widely known facts regarding the damage to one's health that smoking causes, people continue to smoke.

What can be done about this? Bans will only encourage smugglers and other criminals, and continued public education will not be saying anything new in our fight against tobacco.

Perhaps it is time to change our approach from trying to move smokers to being non-smokers in a single stroke, to nudging them towards less harmful products before they quit.

This approach seems to have the support of many adult smokers.

In a survey conducted by Ipsos between May 18 and June 1, it was found that nine out of 10 adult smokers felt that if a new product is scientifically proven to have the potential to reduce the risk of smoking as compared with conventional cigarettes, adult smokers should have the right to access the information.

I may not like the habit of smoking and I dislike the idea that anyone can legally profit from selling products that are harmful.

However, let us recognise the facts on the ground and explore new ways to move smokers from a known lethal product to something less harmful.

Tang Li