Bill Introduced In Parliament To Raise The Legal Age Of Smoking In Singapore To 21
Old enough to protect the country but not to smoke a cigarette.
That’s what some netizens are saying after a Bill introduced in Parliament on Monday (2 Oct) took their breath away.
Joining countries such as Honduras and states like California and New York, the Bill suggests raising the legal age of smoking in Singapore from 18 to 21.
This change is expected to be phased in over a few years.
Additionally, the Bill to amend the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act will also make imitation tobacco products such as e-cigarettes illegal to own. Currently, it is illegal to import, distribute, sell or offer such products.
Protecting the youth from tobacco
The Bill, which was tabled by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, is intended to “reduce, with a view to ultimately eliminating, the opportunities for the young to be tempted and take up smoking before attaining 21 years of age.”
Seems like many young adults were dying to try it.
This comes 6 months after it was initially announced in Parliament in March 2017.
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said then that 45% of smokers in Singapore become regular smokers between the age of 18 to 21, and that adolescents are shown to be more sensitive to the effects of nicotine.
A report by the World Health Organisation also stated that those who don’t smoke before 21 “are unlikely ever to begin”.
Hence, the change.
Mixed reception to increasing the legal age
Reception is mixed however, as some agree that this is the right direction to be headed.
Whereas others feel that this change would simply go up in smoke.
They do raise a point though. There really isn’t a way to stop someone from simply getting another person of age to purchase a pack of cigarettes for them.
Some even called for a complete ban in order to eliminate smoking among youths.
Will the change actually make a difference?
It’s still impossible to determine if the change will make a difference as smoking is currently already prohibited on numerous school premises and common areas such as void decks.
Yet regulations are ignored most of the time as kids simply walk out of the gates and smoke before heading back in.
Perhaps better education about the harmful effects of smoking might be a better long term approach.
Or raising the price of cigarettes, if there’s one thing Singaporeans care most about, it’s money.
But if any of you are thinking about rolling a joint, be careful.
Someone might just weed you out.
Featured image from meder.