Go beyond being smoke-free

SINGAPORE - Today is World No Tobacco Day. There is a very compelling reason for us to mark this day in Singapore as smoking is one of the key health concerns we need to address.

Smoking can cause cancer and heart disease.

While Singapore has one of the lowest smoking prevalence in the world, we must not rest on our laurels as we are seeing a rising incidence of smoking among our young adults.

We can and we need to do much more to promote a smoke-free lifestyle - so as to keep all Singaporeans healthy - by working together at all levels: at the individual and family levels, within the community, through employers and organisations, and the Government.

However, healthy living is not just about staying smoke-free. It is also about physical and mental health.

To achieve improvement in health and well-being, we need to address lifestyle factors related to health. These include having sufficient physical activity, good mental well-being, and maintaining a balanced diet. It also involves actively preventing illnesses or managing health conditions.

These are topics being discussed in the Healthy Living Master Plan (HLMP) public-consultation exercise, launched last month, where members of the public contribute their views on how to promote healthy living.

The response from Singaporeans has been very encouraging, as it shows that people are very interested in taking charge of their health.

As the HLMP Task Force chairman, I am glad to note that people from all walks of life had participated in the online public-consultation exercise for the HLMP.

We had retirees, housewives, working professionals, students and many more penning their thoughts and giving constructive suggestions.

We have also received warm responses through our live Facebook Chat held on May 8and held three community dialogues - in Malay, English/Mandarin and Tamil - this month.

The chat and dialogues were part of the task force's efforts to reach out to the community and were also part of the Ministry of Health's Our Singapore Conversation engagement.

We have gathered about 200 responses from the public consultation thus far, and we are still counting. The master plan signifies renewed emphasis on Singapore's journey as a nation towards healthy living.

Achieving better health is an ongoing journey that takes time and effort, but we can start with incremental steps.

I would like to encourage all Singaporeans to actively contribute to and be involved in this endeavour to develop a healthy lifestyle that is natural and effortless to all.

Make healthy living your priority today.


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