Why did The Straits Times publish this letter? To
provoke promote a discussion?
Mrs Vivien Tan must be out of her mind, despite her good intentions. “An amount of $500 a year could be added to a smoker’s income tax if he is working” – really? How did she derive that figure? And to suggest that smokers should “buy a monthly licence at the post office” otherwise is just ridiculous! The queue at my neighborhood post office is long enough as it is. I sure do not want to see smokers join the queue! Or maybe, Mrs Tan would propose a dedicated queue and counter for smokers? Perhaps she would like to man that counter herself?
She seems to have it all thought out – “Smokers caught without a licence should be fined $20, payable at any ATM”. So they should hang the licence on a chain around their necks? Or do we have NEA officers go up to each person they see smoking and ask for their licence? These officers will also have to inhale second-hand smoke unless they wear masks. 😛
Cigarettes are already ridiculously expensive in Singapore. I am not a smoker, but I have seen cigarettes sold in Malaysia and other countries for a fraction of what they cost here. Do we still want to slap on more taxes and be known for having the most expensive cigarettes in the world?
Besides, I do think that the forbidden fruit is usually the most tempting. The more we try to take cigarettes away from people, the more they want them.
We should just ensure smokers know which places they are allowed to smoke in, and which they should not light up in, such as lifts!
Either we have a complete ban on cigarettes (like we did with chewing gum) or ensure that smokers respect the rights of non-smokers to have clean air. Fines might be necessary but additional taxes are not.