PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 February, 2010, 12:00am

Act now to bring down smoking

The government's anti-smoking measures have led to a fall in the number of smokers. This is due to the extension of the smoking ban, and the rise in tobacco tax which makes the habit more expensive.

Young smokers are especially susceptible to a tax increase as they don't earn much. This means smoking has become an 'old-fashioned habit' among teenagers, and smokers are becoming more unpopular.

The government should increase the tobacco tax every year to discourage smoking. Pictures on cigarette packets could show more clearly the dangers of smoking.

The government should also start looking into the possibility of banning smoking in all public places.

Smoking in front of children should be considered a form of physical abuse. All this hard work will go down the drain if the government does not take the initiative and ban smoking.

Nicole Ng Ka-yi, St Antonius Girls' College

Living life daily through Facebook Many teenagers post their photos and videos on Facebook. It has become a crucial part of their lives, and they can't live without it. I have many friends like that.

We all know that Facebook is an interesting website: we can play games, share our photos and express our feelings. But we have come to rely on Facebook too much, for example, using it to find out what is going on in school.

One of my friends does not talk to her sister at home, but they frequently comment on each other's photos or status through the social networking site. So they don't act like sisters in real life and are only sisters on Facebook. Is this a good thing? At least they have a way to talk to each other.

United States President Barack Obama has asked younger Facebook users to be careful with their personal information because it can be easily seen by others.

If you are a member, all it takes is one mutual friend to read the profiles of others and view their photos. There seems to be no secrets on Facebook. It's far too easy for a stranger to find out about your life, or for your parents to see the silly faces you pull in photos.

For some people, Facebook is a lifeline, and they may feel they are missing out if they are not logged in. This may leave them lacking in confidence.

But all this time spent on Facebook means there is less time to study and spend with family.

It's true that Facebook is a very useful tool. But it is best to limit the amount of time we spend on it, and the amount of information we post there.

Angel Ip, St Rose of Lima's College

Taking life to the Straightedge

Teenagers who abuse illegal drugs, drink alcohol and smoke are unfortunately too common in Hong Kong. Teens should stop intoxicating themselves with these substances. No one should harm their bodies and put their lives at risk.

Many people have tried to tackle this issue. But not many methods are that effective.

But after doing some research, I have found a one way which seems to work every time. It is called 'Straightedge'. Straightedge is a lifetime commitment to refrain from drinking alcohol, using tobacco products, and taking drugs. First, you must make a commitment to quit. You can only stop if you make the first move.

Straightedge has been very popular in the United States. It was started by 1980s hardcore punk band Minor Threat.

By being a part of the Straightedge movement, a person stays away from these intoxicating substances.

I also think Straightedge could the best way for teens who do these harmful things to improve their lives. Although it may be a new term for Hong Kong's youth, it may become very effective because of the inspiration that it produces.

Being inspired to make your life better is always better than being forced to behave.

Raza Khan, Delia Memorial School (Hip Wo)