Mailbox: Multi-pronged approach needed to curb smoking and drinking among the young

Smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol is not only a cause of concern for health, but can also hurt your pocket as the duties for cigarettes and liquor have increased over the years.

Yet, going by media reports, more young people seem to be smoking and drinking heavily.

Pictures have been published of young people passed out on the streets after a night out.

It is clear that tax increases alone are not enough to deter them from picking up these harmful habits.

There have been calls to raise the legal age for smoking and drinking alcohol to at least 21.

But education may be more important. Children should be taught from a young age about the bad effects of smoking and drinking.

Having a good role model is also important.

I understand studies have shown that young people who smoke or drink, or both, have at least one older family member who does the same thing.

So they find it normal to smoke or drink when they reach the legal age.

Family members should play their part in discouraging young people from smoking and drinking, first of all by ensuring that they do not do so in front of children.


Teenagers also learn from the media. Locally-produced shows should not depict scenes of smoking or drinking. If any scenes show smoking or drinking, there should be a health warning to advise viewers about the ill effects.

For movies and TV shows, a health warning or advisory can be shown at the start or whenever there is such a scene.

From Muhammad Dzul Azhan Haji Sahban

This article was published on April 28 in The New Paper.

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