Forum: Have holistic way of teaching students about harmful effects of smoking

The young should be educated on the harmful effects of smoking before they fall prey to it, and become frustrated with the legal smoking age of 21.

Given the immense social and economic costs smoking exacts from our society, and especially on the non-smoking majority, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment should collaborate and weave content on the harms of smoking into the education materials of the sciences and humanities.

This can be easily achieved.

For the sciences, the toxic chemicals in tobacco and the physiological effects of these chemicals can be case study examples in chemistry and biology textbooks.

The environmental effects of cigarettes, such as litter from cigarette butts and the radioactive properties of cigarettes, could also be discussed.

For humanities subjects, smoking in the context of social responsibility, whether it imposes on personal liberties, and tobacco control policies can be discussed.

Furthermore, students could be encouraged to attempt project work on any of these topics.

By thinking about and working through such content, they will buy into the scientific arguments against smoking and understand smoking-related issues deeper.

The audience reached through this approach is specific and relevant. Besides the students themselves, educators and parents would also learn about the harms of smoking.

I think this method of educating the young before they reach the legal smoking age is better than the more direct approach of the authorities - which involves spending on media buying, creative work and printed materials - and which people may treat as white noise.

Lim Teck Koon

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