The preference for gradualism in dealing with the problem of smoking here must give way to a bolder approach, in the light of statistics released recently by The Tobacco Atlas, an initiative of American non-governmental organisations. The data shows that one non-smoker here dies each day from tobacco-related diseases, no thanks to second-hand cigarette smoke in the air.
Such needless and highly preventable deaths are bad enough, but what makes it worse is that the toll of second-hand smoke is proportionately higher here than elsewhere. Collateral victims make up one in six of all deaths from tobacco-related diseases in Singapore, whereas the world average is one in eight. Tobacco kills 2,500 smokers in the city-state yearly, as tallied by the Health Promotion Board. This sad count ought to spur tougher moves to eradicate smoking, given the high-density living which is inevitable here.