SINGAPORE — Smokers will get more support to quit the habit, with subsidies to be given for those seeking nicotine replacement therapy.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Amrin Amin, announced the initiative during the ministry’s Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Thursday (5 March), with new smoking cessation models to be introduced in Singapore’s public healthcare institutions.
He said that the Ministry of Health (MOH) is evaluating pilot proposals in hospitals, polyclinics and national specialty centres, whereby Singaporeans can benefit from intensive behavioural support in quitting their smoking habit. They will get a three-month nicotine replacement therapy, and receive follow-up consultations for up to a year.
The pilot proposals will target 10,000 smokers, and MOH plans to start the proposals when the public healthcare institutions resume normal operations after the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
“Smoking cessation programs in Singapore have ranged from 10 per cent for telephone-based interventions to 20 per cent for programs that combined intensive counselling and pharmacotherapy,” Amrin said.
The minimal legal age for smoking will be raised to 21 years old in 2021, while standardised packaging for tobacco products will start in July this year.
Amrin said that smoking rate in Singapore dropped to 10.6 per cent in 2019, close to MOH’s target of reducing the smoking rate to below 10 per cent by 2020.
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