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Crackdown on shisha smoking in Kampong Glam

NEA revokes cafes' smoking licences after they flout rules

Published on Dec 20, 2013 8:33 AM

About half of the shisha cafes in Kampong Glam have had their outdoor smoking corner licences revoked this year, as the authorities clamped down harder on the establishments after they repeatedly flouted licensing rules.

A National Environment Agency (NEA) spokesman said that 12 "recalcitrant" shisha operators out of 23 in the Malay heritage quarter faced the action for allowing shisha smoking outside designated areas.

In contrast, only two establishments in the area were sanctioned last year. It is unclear how long the revocation applies to the 12 establishments but one cafe showed a letter from NEA, which indicated it is effective for three years. In previous years, the NEA had mostly issued only warnings and fines.

In shisha smoking, the smoke from fruit-flavoured tobacco is passed through water and inhaled using a pipe.

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Background story


After this month, if business doesn't pick up, we will be gone.

- Going Om Cafe owner Oliver Pang, who lost his licence last month and added that removing shisha smoking from Kampong Glam would erode the unique identity of the place


In the 1980s, I remember it had spices, fabrics, eateries, even tomb-makers. It never really was a place for shisha till recently.

- NUS architectural historian Lai Chee Kien