Voices of Youth: Help me benefit from a tobacco-free generation

I refer to the recent letter, "Time for Singapore to study tobacco-free generation idea seriously to stop smoking" (June 11).

As someone who would enjoy the benefits of a tobacco-free generation, I fully support the idea of Singapore adopting a blanket ban on smoking for young people. Despite the Government's efforts to curb smoking (such as raising the minimum legal age for smoking from 18 to 21), smoking is still fairly prevalent in Singapore.

I agree that it is indeed time for Singapore to try an alternative initiative like a tobacco-free generation, which countries such as New Zealand, Malaysia and Denmark have taken on board.

The move to ban the sale of cigarettes to young people may appear extreme, but I think it is necessary. Smoking has deleterious health effects and it affects the health of not only smokers, but also the people around them.

To deal with the health consequences, the Government must do whatever is necessary to get rid of smoking in Singapore. Ultimately, it all comes down to how strong our political will is when enforcing change that is for the good of our society, no matter how unpopular.

After all, old habits die hard. Once a person has started smoking, it can be difficult to kick the habit. Banning future generations from purchasing cigarettes will prevent them from picking up smoking in the first place.

With a blanket ban on future generations, there will not be any undue hardship on current smokers but we will finally have a decent chance of eradicating smoking totally in the foreseeable future. Although I may not be able to enjoy a totally smoke-free country, I hope that the next generation will be able to.

Ashlyn Chua, 17

JC1 student

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