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S’pore’s minimum legal age for smoking to be raised to 21 from Jan. 1, 2021: Gan Kim Yong

Graphic warnings will also be enhanced.

Matthias Ang | February 4, 12:12 pm

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Beginning from Jan. 1, 2021, the minimum legal age for smoking in Singapore will be raised to 21 years of age, Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong stated in a written reply in Parliament on Feb. 3.

Gan was responding to a question by Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo, who asked about the smoking rate among young Singaporeans and whether measures are planned to curb smoking among the young Singaporeans.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, the minimum legal age is currently 20 years old.

Addressing the perception that smoking is cool

The gradual increase in age limit over the years is part of the Ministry Of Health (MOH)’s anti-smoking laws passed in 2017.

Gan added that the aim is to “denormalise tobacco” use among youths below the age of 21, restrict tobacco access in their social circles and reduce the risk of “smoking initiation.”

Citing research by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) on why youths took up smoking, he wrote,”The key reasons…are social influence from friends and the perception that smoking is ‘cool’.”

Tobacco smoking products to have enhanced graphic warnings

Gan further pointed out that the potential contribution of tobacco brands’ positive marketing towards smoking’s “cool” factor will also be reduced with enhanced graphic warnings.

These warnings will come into effect on Jul. 1, 2020.

The HPB will also continue to work with schools and community organisations to promote a smoke-free lifestyle among youth.

These measures include counselling focused on quitting smoking, “smoking cessation training” for youth workers and educators, and complementing the school curriculum with anti-tobacco messages through programmes such as assembly skits and workshops.

Smoking among youths has dropped over the years

In highlighting that smoking among youths had dropped over the years, Gan stated that the prevalence of smoking among Singapore’s resident youths, aged 18-29, had declined from 17.2 per cent in 2007 to 9.9 per cent in 2017.

Additionally, the prevalence of smoking among students from secondary schools, ITE and polytechnics decreased from 8 per cent in 2011-2013 to 4 per cent in 2014-2016.

More details on the anti-smoking law:

S’pore’s minimum legal age for smoking raised to 20 years old from Jan 1, 2020

New anti-smoking bill means you have to be 21 before you can smoke

Top photo from Pixabay

 

 

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