New ban on tobacco products, 19/07/10

Singapore–THE government has hit the tobacco industry with tighter restrictions, including a ban on alternative tobacco and nicotine products currently available abroad.

These products include smokeless forms of tobacco such as oral and nasal snuff, electric cigarettes, tobacco substitutes such as nicotine water, and fruit and candy-flavoured cigarettes.

Most of these are not available in Singapore, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan told MPs on Monday during the debate on changes to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act.

Noting that there was a prevalence of smoking here, particular among young adults, he said such innovative products were the industry’s attempt to attract new users and were marketed to appeal to younger customers, including women.

Speaking in Parliament for the first time since his heart bypass operation in May, he also showed examples of such products – a tin of oral snuff and a packet of smokeless e-cigarettes – to MPs.

The ban on alternative products is particularly important given recent increases in smoking among young adults. Between 2004 and 2007, smoking prevalence rose from 18 per cent to 25 per cent among young men, and from 7 per cent to 9 per cent among young women.

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