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Singapore Med J. 1997 Feb;38(2):50-3.

Smoking in the Singapore Armed Forces.

Author information

  • 1HQ SAF Medical Corps, Singapore.

Erratum in

  • Singapore Med J 1997 Mar;38(3):115.


The Singapore Armed Forces has, since 1986, established a comprehensive smoking control programme which combines health education, counselling and administrative measures aimed at discouraging non-smokers from smoking, and encouraging smokers to quit the habit. The prevalence of regular smoking decreased from 28.6% in 1987 to 20.7% in 1993. The latest, 1993 survey as in past surveys covered 3,545 respondents, made up of regulars (32.0%), NSF (62.2%) and NUSAF (5.6%). The 1993 survey revealed that the majority of smokers (88.9%) in the SAF who consist primarily of 18 to 20-year-olds, had started smoking before enlistment. Most acquired the habit on their own (49.8%) or through influences outside the SAF (40.3%). Very few smokers became smokers through the influence of fellow soldiers (4.9%). The majority (87.7%) of smokers readily agreed that smoking is harmful, but this is not translated into practice. Health education efforts need to focus more on bringing about positive attitudinal and behavioural changes, rather than merely give information and advice. The young age of smoking onset (mean age of 14.3 years) In the SAF population surveyed points to the need to focus preventive efforts further upstream than hitherto emphasised.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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