Protect HDB residents from second-hand smoke too

The National Environment Agency's director-general of public health, Mr Derek Ho, in explaining why the agency was getting tougher on smoking in Orchard Road, has pointed out the need to protect the non-smoking public from second-hand smoke (Tougher curbs on smoking in food places, Orchard Rd; July 1).

Unlike the pedestrians in Orchard Road, HDB tenants are unable to "cross the road" to avoid the harmful fumes that enter their homes.

I live in a HDB flat. The occupants in the flat directly below mine are heavy smokers and use the balcony to smoke.

All of this second-hand smoke pollutes my flat, as it drifts up through the balcony and bedroom windows.

Why should non-smoking residents be exposed to the harmful effects of second-hand and third-hand smoke?

Many of my neighbours are also feeling frustrated and helpless when it comes to this issue.

If we were to make a lot of noise that disturbs our neighbours, the HDB would ask us to desist.

Smoking is a much more harmful pollutant than noise, yet it is allowed to continue.

In New South Wales, Australia, a by-law was issued in November last year regulating "smoke drift".

It states that smoking is allowed in apartments only if the second-hand smoke does not penetrate another property.

It would be timely for the HDB to look into the viability of adopting a similar policy in Singapore.

Paul Philpott

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2017, with the headline 'Protect HDB residents from second-hand smoke too'. Print Edition | Subscribe