Combat shisha smoking

The health authorities have banned electronic cigarettes and descriptions such as "light" and "mild" on cigarette packs sold here, to combat the misperception that such products are less harmful than "normal" cigarettes.

Thus, I wonder why shisha smoking, which is even more harmful than cigarette smoking, is not banned here ("Shisha smoking crackdown in Kg Glam"; last Friday).

Apart from the health risk, the sight of shisha smokers puffing away in cafes damages Singapore's reputation as an anti-smoking country and sends the wrong signal to youngsters.

The National Environment Agency was right to impose sanctions on the shisha cafes that repeatedly flouted outdoor smoking licensing rules.

Countries like Malaysia, Turkey and Kazakhstan have imposed various restrictions on shisha smoking, and other nations like Vietnam are considering banning it.

Singapore, despite being proactive in designating no-smoking zones islandwide, imposing age restrictions on cigarette sales and having punitive measures such as heavy taxes on cigarettes, has failed to curb the rise in shisha smoking, particularly among the young.

We should not allow youngsters to form the impression that shisha smoking is fashionable and earns the respect of their peers.

Francis Cheng


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