Dear A.S.S. Editor

There is now currently a debate in Singapore about raising the minimum age for smoking in Singapore from 18 years old to 21 years old. Singapore authorities are currently considering it, but whether it will really work or not is debatable.

Currently, studies have shown that people are more likely to pick up the habit of smoking if the minimum age allowed is 18, and those who start smoking before they turn 21 is likely to make this a lifelong habit. Thus, it makes sense that to cut down on the number of smokers here, then raising the minimum age is the way to go. However, there lies a legal problem in this. This is because in Singapore, at 18 years old, a person can get a driving licence, watch an adult-themed film, and be appointed as a director of a company. The same 18-year-old male in national service will be trained to use a rifle, and a person can marry with parental consent. An 18 year old can also legally consume alcohol, if he wants to. It would seem that the law then deems an 18-year-old mature enough to fulfill the responsibilities of all these roles and actions.

So, why is Singapore laws so confusing? If they want to change the minimum age for smoking, then might as well change the legal age for everything else to 21 also. Questions have to be asked which is more dangerous – an out of control 18 year old who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, or an out of control 18 year old who got drunk on alcohol, and drink drives because he has a legal licence to drive a car.

Mark Chan

A.S.S. Contributor

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