Vice Squad
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Singapore Requires Shock Pictures on Cigarette Packs

Reuters reports that Singapore will soon join Brazil and Canada as countries that require large, nasty pictures on cigarette packs in an effort to raise the salience of the warning that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health. Some 15% of adults in Singapore smoke, as opposed to about 24% in the US, though adult males in Singapore are slightly more likely to smoke than are their US counterparts: only 3.1% of adult females in Singapore smoke. (Figures from an Appendix to the World Health Association's Tobacco Atlas.)

This strengthening of regulation seems to fly in the face of recent liberalizations in Singapore, which include the newly legal (but strictly controlled) sale of chewing gum, the lifting of the ban on Cosmopolitan magazine, and the permission to air an edited version of the TV series "Sex and the City." The Reuters article offers this tidbit, too. Say you are waiting in line for a bus in Singapore with one other person (a custom that must be a colonial holdover!) and smoking a cigarette. A third person then joins the line. Better put out the cigarette, as Singapore's public smoking ban applies to "queues of more than two people."

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