To prevent the young from being tempted by tobacco products and take up smoking before 21 years of age, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has revealed that it will look to standardise tobacco packaging.
This is along with proposing legislative changes to Parliament within a year to raise the minimum legal age for sale of tobacco products to minors, from 18 to 21 years, a change which will be phased in over a few years.
According to senior minister of state for health, Amy Khor, the government will be following the example of countries such as Australia, France and the UK which have implemented standardised packaging.
“We have closely studied the experience of these countries, and see significant value in moving in this direction, so as to reduce the appeal of tobacco products, particularly to youths, and raise the visibility and effectiveness of health warnings,” Khor explained.
She added that MOH will also conduct further public consultation on standardised packaging this year to seek additional and more detailed views on possible standardised packaging measures. It will also review relevant considerations including public health, intellectual property and international law perspectives and ensure that any measures taken are consistent with domestic law and international obligations.
Currently to tackle the problem, HPB has a programme called “I Quit” that supports smokers to quit. According to Khor, the campaign will extend the programme’s outreach though roadshows at various community and workplace settings this year. She added that tobacco use is currently a major contributor to ill health and diseases and more needs to be done to tackle the challenge.