Forum: Reconsider ban on 'heat-not-burn' cigarettes to reduce second-hand smoke

I refer to Ms Denise Chong's opinion piece (Smokers get their unmasked breaks, unlike most of us, Nov 29).

Such perceived unfairness of how smokers are, for instance, allowed to puff on cigarettes with their masks off outdoors is unlikely to be resolved any time soon without governmental intervention.

The toxins found in a stick of burning cigarette are undeniably offensive and harmful.

Despite the success of smoking cessation programmes in Singapore, there will always be smokers who cannot kick the habit. Nicotine addiction cannot be underestimated, based on what I have witnessed with both my parents and grandparents.

The aim moving forward should be to minimise, if not remove, the toxicity emitted by a burning cigarette.

The Government could consider legalising "heat-not-burn" cigarettes as these do not emit any odour or toxic smoke.

Unlike conventional cigarettes which burn, those devices heat up the tobacco leaves to deliver the nicotine effect.

I have seen many people using those devices in Japan and Europe. Even when standing next to them, I could not smell anything. I also saw no smoke emitting from their devices.

The Government has previously justified the ban of such devices with the lack of empirical evidence to support their efficacy in smoking cessation.

But I implore the Government to reconsider this. Legalising such devices could help to address the complaints of second-hand smoke raised by non-smokers.

Richard Wong

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