SINGAPORE - The Health Ministry (MOH) will propose changes to existing legislation that will raise the minimum legal age for smoking from 18 to 21, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said in Parliament on Thursday (Mar 9).
The changes will be implemented by phases over a few years, and is part of the ministry's plan to reduce, if not eliminate, opportunities for Singapore youths to pick up the habit.
Ms Khor, in her speech, cited a report by the World Health Organisation that found that those who do not start smoking before the age of 21 "are unlikely to ever begin".
She also noted that there was "considerable support" for raising the minimum legal age for smoking during a public consultation conducted by the Health Promotion Board between Dec 2015 and Mar 2016.
"We want to protect our young from the harms of tobacco, and lay the foundation for good health," she said.
Reaction to the move online was somewhat mixed. On Facebook, Member of Parliament Louis Ng, who previously spoke in Parliament about his experience of quitting smoking, lauded the decision.
Some users also wondered whether the Government would be raising the legal age for drinking alcohol as well.
However, a number of users questioned whether such a rule would be an effective deterrent, with some suggesting that even greater restrictions on lighting up should be imposed.