May 26, 2014

    How much have we curbed smoking?

    WITH World No Tobacco Day around the corner on Saturday, I am once again reminded of the declaration by the former chief executive of the Health Promotion Board (HPB) who, in 2012, spelt out the goal of achieving a smoking rate of 10 per cent among Singaporeans by 2020.

    To go a step further, it would seem that this is a national goal of Singapore as a signatory of the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control of the World Health Organisation.

    We are now two years nearer to 2020 and a new HPB head has since come on board.

    To stay the course towards the goal, it is imperative that we take stock as a nation on World No Tobacco Day to see how much progress we have made and review what else needs to be done if we are to achieve this goal.

    Enough has been said about the ills of tobacco and smoking. This year, the US Surgeon-General's report said that for every adult who dies early because of smoking, two new young smokers take his or her place.

    The stark fact is that if we do not make great strides each year in this fight against tobacco, we are staring at failure in 2020.

    Each year, we would like to see a good report card. Since we do not have a national body dedicated solely to tobacco control, will HPB and the relevant authorities jointly give us some updates this year?