Forum: Time for Singapore to study tobacco-free generation idea seriously to stop smoking

Yet another country is taking steps to progressively eradicate tobacco, after New Zealand, Malaysia and Denmark (UK tobacco control review recommends raising age of sale each year, June 9).

The initiative, known as Tobacco-Free Generation, progressively outlaws the sale of tobacco to each annual cohort of residents, until it is completely outlawed one day.

Singapore should stop being overly cautious and slow in its approach towards this idea.

It was a group of Singapore doctors and researchers who mooted the Tobacco-Free Generation in a 2010 paper published in the journal Tobacco Control. They went on to set up an organisation called Tobacco Free Generation International to promote the idea internationally.

Just because there has been a steady decline in smoking prevalence in Singapore is no excuse not to consider this idea (Smoking prevalence in S'pore population dropped from 13.9% in 2010 to 10.1% in 2020, June 4).

For a start, a public-private expert committee should be formed to seriously study it and make recommendations to the Government.

Smoking harms both smokers and non-smokers alike and must be stopped. The Tobacco-Free Generation initiative is a realistic and practical alternative to an outright overnight ban and must be taken seriously.

Cheng Shoong Tat

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