The anti-smoking law in Singapore has prevented an estimated 20,000 deaths

By: | October 20th, 2023

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Aspiring for a Smoke-Free World

In the realm of public health, the aspiration is to create a smoke-free world. Bhutan and Singapore have taken substantial steps towards achieving this goal through stringent anti-smoking laws.

Bhutan made history by being the first to ban tobacco sales and public smoking in 2004, which served as an inspiration for similar actions worldwide.

Singapore’s Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Laws

Singapore followed suit by implementing comprehensive anti-smoking laws from 2013 to 2017.

A research team conducted a study to assess the impact of Singapore’s legislation on heart attack rates. They analyzed monthly reports from the Singapore Myocardial Infarction Registry spanning from January 2010 to December 2019.

Decreasing Heart Attacks

The study revealed that after Singapore extended its no-smoking regulations to encompass more public areas in 2013, there was a noticeable decrease in the rate of heart attacks.

An estimated 19,591 heart attacks were prevented among those over 65, compared to 1,325 cases among those under 65. This impact is not limited to Singapore; a broader analysis of 18 studies across Europe, North America, and New Zealand showed a 13% reduction in heart attack risk following the implementation of smoke-free legislation.

Nevertheless, the study also underscores the need for governments to regularly assess and potentially expand anti-smoking laws due to the ongoing global tobacco problem.

Secondhand Smoke’s Silent Impact

Tobacco use claims over 8 million lives annually, with 1.3 million deaths attributed to secondhand smoke exposure. Most secondhand smoke-related deaths are linked to ischaemic heart disease, which often leads to sudden heart attacks.

The WHO’s Recommendations for Smoke-Free Environments

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control recommends measures to protect people from tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places, as well as other relevant settings.

New Zealand recently enacted a stringent law that prohibits smoking for individuals born after 2008, with the aim of reducing the country’s smoking rate to 5% by 2025. These actions exemplify a global commitment to combating tobacco-related health issues and preventing heart attacks.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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