Online counselling to be mandatory for underaged smokers

The National Health Surveillance Survey 2007 showed that 13.6 per cent of Singapore residents aged 18 to 69 smoked daily, compared to 12.6 per cent in 2004.

The survey also found that about one in four males smoked daily, compared with one in 27 females. The males were lighting up 13 cigarettes a day on average, compared to nine cigarettes for females.

Furthermore, daily smoking was most prevalent in young adults aged 18 to 29, with many of them experimenting with cigarettes at the age of 16.

Hence, there is going to be a revamp of the mandatory counselling framework for underaged first—time smoking offenders.

From May 1, first—time offenders will be required to undergo a mandatory brief online intervention that encourages them to consider quitting smoking. There will also be more concerted efforts to reach upper primary level students.

Targeting young adults is also a new initiative called the “No Butts Project”, where smokers get a redemption card when they sign up and they can redeem stamps when they attend quit smoking events or counselling sessions.

With the stamps, they can redeem vouchers and discounts from a book store, hair salon and optician.

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