Smoking is the leading cause of cancer, coronary heart diseases like heart attack, lung diseases e.g. emphysema, and stroke. Cognizant of the harmful effects of smoking, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) has undertaken several anti-smoking campaigns to reduce the smoking prevalence rate in Singapore, safeguarding the well-being of our citizens.
Anti-smoking campaigns in the past adopted a one size fits all approach, where the Health Promotion Board undertake huge mass media campaigns targeting the entire smoking population, and had been successful in its implementation and achieving its targets.
In the recent years, however, we have witnessed a paradigm shift. The Board began to embark on focused campaigns targeting specific sections of the community, for example, the Fresh Air for Women campaign. This paradigm shift highlights the Board’s awareness of the need to target specific groups of smokers, since the smoking prevalence rate is already very low in Singapore. Indeed, according to the recent National Health Survey, the smoking prevalence rate is as low as 12.6%.
Bearing in mind that youths form part of the smoking populace, Team Pł shall examine the common reasons for smoking for these youths and nip the problem in the bud with a proposed range of innovative and exciting programs to engage the present, potential and passive smokers.
According to the Singapore Youth Tobacco Survey 2000, up to 89.7% of the smokers in secondary schools are aware that smoking is bad for health, while about 63.3% of these smokers want to stop smoking. This proves that a main problem with the smokers lies not with the ignorance of the health hazards of smoking, but probably because the smokers only care about the short term benefits (relieving stress, easier to give in to peer pressure) but unconcerned about the long term harms, and also because they lack the impetus to quit smoking.
The Pł Approach therefore would include a myriad of activities to increase the impetus for youths to stop smoking, raise the awareness of the general public on how to persuade youths from smoking and embrace a smoke free lifestyle.