To curb more young people from picking up smoking, the Government is looking at banning emerging tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco intended for oral use, later this year.
Noting that these products are targeted at the youth, Parliamentary Secretary (Health) Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said: “We are concerned about the health risks of such products and have been studying ways to address this growing trend.”
The Ministry of Health is also considering imposing standardised packaging of tobacco products to make them less visually attractive and make health warnings more visible. For instance, tobacco products in Australia come in green boxes with brand names printed in a uniform typeface. Graphic health warnings take up most of the space on the packaging.
A public consultation on a similar move in Singapore will be conducted towards the end of the year.
Dr Faishal also said the display of tobacco products near cashiers will soon be prohibited, after laws are changed by the end of the year. Retailers will have 12 months to comply.
Meanwhile, Dr Faishal said information technology is increasingly being used to bolster the healthcare system. For instance, HealthHub, a one-stop digital platform to help people make informed choices about their health, will be rolled out in the second half of this year. Users will be able to access their personalised healthcare information, hospital fees, health financing schemes and eventually, waiting times at accident and emergency departments.
Smartphone users can also download the Health Living @ SG app, which tracks physical activity as well as locates nearby exercise locations and healthier dining outlets.
The Government is also piloting tele-rehabilitation services to aid post-stroke patients in recovering at home. Also, a new Community Hospital Common System, which links up the IT systems of all community hospitals with partnering public healthcare institutions, will be launched by the end of this year, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced today (March 12).