May 30, 2013

    Smokers not really free to choose

    LET us examine the "freedom of choice" argument frequently cited by smokers, on the eve of World No Tobacco Day.

    It is fallacious for smokers to cite freedom of choice when:

    smokers in Singapore tend to get addicted around the ages of 12 or 13.

    addiction to tobacco and damaging one's own health and that of others is no joy. It is an illusory joy stemming from one's addiction.

    freedom of choice is lost when one is addicted and unable to quit.

    The World Health Organization's Protection From Exposure To Second-hand Tobacco Smoke Policy Recommendations handbook states that smoke-free legislation does not mean smokers cannot smoke; it only limits where smoking is permissible, to prevent smokers from harming others.

    There is no "right to smoke" enshrined in any national Constitution or international human-rights law.

    Conversely, the right to life, the right to the "enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health", the right to a healthy environment and other rights to protection from exposure to tobacco smoke are found in numerous international human-rights laws.