Man arrested for protesting against call for tobacco ban
Bonus Bogus Story
A man was arrested yesterday for staging a protest outside National Cancer Centre.
The man, who claimed to be a doctor but declined to give his name, told Straight Times that he was protesting against National Cancer Centre’s campaign to ban tobacco products in Singapore.
Straight Times managed to speak with the man before he was taken away by police.
‘As doctors, our role in primary prevention should be patient education and persuasion. To try to abdicate our responsibilities as doctors in convincing our patients to stop an unhealthy habit by seeking legislation against it is betraying the patient-doctor relationship and an affront to the idea of patient autonomy,’ said the angry doctor.
‘Besides, it’s an insult to our policy-makers to think that they will not ban tobacco imports when the cost for treating tobacco-related diseases and running anti-smoking campaigns has exceeded the revenues from tobacco tariffs.’
‘Smoking also causes heart disease and strokes, but the cardiologists and neurologists have not sought to ban tobacco use. On the other hand, an unhealthy diet and sexual promiscuity are the respective causes of colorectal cancer and cervical cancer, but we do not see NCC trying to get the government to ban these. If we reduce the deaths from heart disease and strokes, Singaporeans will live longer, and of course we all know that the older you get, the higher your chances for getting cancers!’
‘We all have to die someday. The choice is usually between a quick and sudden death from a heart attack or a stroke, or a slow, painful death from cancer. I believe the choice should lie with the individual and not the state.’
‘I am aware that cancer is the leading cause of death in Singapore, but as doctors, we should concern ourselves not with trying to ‘cure’ the statistics of the principal causes of death and life expectancy, but with educating patients on the impact their lifestyle choices have on their own health, and leaving the ultimate responsibility to them.’
The man is now under police custody. It is understood that he will be transferred to the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric assessment. It is not known if the man is himself a smoker.
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