Government wants smoking rate to be reduced to below 10 per cent by 2020

The smoking rate stood at 18.3 per cent in 1992 and dropped to around 12 per cent in 2004. Since then it has hovered between 12 and 14 per cent.
The smoking rate stood at 18.3 per cent in 1992 and dropped to around 12 per cent in 2004. Since then it has hovered between 12 and 14 per cent.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Government's anti-smoking drive has reduced the smoking rate to 12 per cent last year, and the aim now is to bring the rate to below 10 per cent by 2020, said Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Health.

The smoking rate stood at 18.3 per cent in 1992 and dropped to around 12 per cent in 2004. Since then it has hovered between 12 and 14 per cent.

Mr Amrin was speaking at a student engagement session held on Wednesday (May 30), in conjunction with World No Tobacco Day, which falls on Thursday.

A new social media campaign to educate youth on the harms of tobacco use will be launched by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in the second half of this year, he added.

About 80 students visited the Health Sciences Authority's (HSA) Cigarette Testing Laboratory on Wednesday to learn about the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes.

A cigarette stick sold here produces two to 725 times more toxicants than the limits found in other products such as food or hazardous substances, according to a study by the laboratory.

Smoking is the second-highest contributor to the burden of diseases among Singaporeans, killing an estimated 2,073 people in 2016. Besides causing heart attacks, stroke, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, smoking is estimated to cost Singapore at least $600 million a year in direct healthcare costs and lost productivity.

Last year, about 70,000 youths were engaged by HPB's prevention and cessation efforts, which includes its Student Health Advisors and Quit-line, said Mr Amrin.