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New Zealand style smoking ban possible

13 Jan 2022. The Senior Minister of State for Health has said that Singapore is open to a cohort smoking ban and will be closely following progress in New Zealand, reports CAN.

Koh Poh Koon, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Health, was responding to questions from Members of Parliament who asked whether the country would introduce a ban like New Zealand when he said the Ministry was open to the possibility.

Those aged 14 and under in 2027 will never be allowed to purchase cigarettes in New Zealand if the government’s plans go ahead and it becomes law later this year.

Although Dr Koh sees the ban as an “attractive proposal”, he said that e-cigarettes were currently a bigger challenge in Singapore even though they are illegal. According to CNA, he said that while New Zealand is pushing the cohort smoking ban it is still promoting vaping as an alternative and he fears that users will simply shift from smoking to vaping, which is still harmful.

Dr Koh also saw a challenge in enforcing a cohort ban saying, “For such a ban to be effective, we would need to introduce laws to penalise older persons who are not subject to the ban, but for abetting offences such as supplying tobacco products to the affected cohorts.”

"Nevertheless, we remain open to the idea. New Zealand’s (announced) ban will be the first time a country will be implementing such a ban at the national level. We will study how New Zealand implements the ban, its effectiveness and how their experience could be applied here to Singapore," he concluded.