The Singaporean government is working on cutting the prevalence of smoking among young citizens
Singapore's Ministry of Health said in a statement on Tuesday, 11 January, that it is open to studying New Zealand's cohort ban on smoking, and will look at how it implements the ban, its effectiveness, and how its experience could be applicable there.
Under the New Zealand government's plans, people aged 14 and under in 2027 will never be allowed to purchase cigarettes in the country. It is one of the world's toughest crackdowns on the tobacco industry, arguing that other efforts to extinguish smoking were taking too long.
"It is an attractive proposal, in that it prevents young people from taking up smoking while not putting too many restrictions on older smokers," said Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Koh Poh Koon.
"Then, as the years go by, more and more cohorts are smoking free."
However, Koh noted that in Singapore, young people are generally not becoming smokers, unlike their counterparts in other countries.
In fact, smoking is not seen as glamorous, he said, and their generation is aware of the harmful effects it brings.
The bigger issue is the popularity of vaping products such as e-cigarettes among Singapore's youths
Although banned, vaping devices still find their way to the republic through e-commerce.
"If vaping becomes entrenched among the younger generation, it undoes all the progress we have made on curbing smoking, and will take an enormous effort over many years to curb its use," Koh said.
The Ministry of Health will also look at new ways to further reduce access to tobacco products and tackle vaping.
The smoking prevalence rates in Singapore continue to fall, dropping from 11.8% in 2017 to 10.1% in 2020.