Smoking ban could be the breath of fresh air Orchard needs

The smoke-free shopping experience in Orchard Road could be promoted as something unique and a healthy activity for the whole family. Merchants could gain back some of what they have lost, says the writer.
The smoke-free shopping experience in Orchard Road could be promoted as something unique and a healthy activity for the whole family. Merchants could gain back some of what they have lost, says the writer.ST FILE PHOTO

There have been comments that making Orchard Road smoke-free will make already-poor business in the area worse (Tougher curbs on smoking in food places, Orchard Rd; and Food operators fret; smokers say they'll adjust to new rules; July 1).

However, I believe the contrary - not only will business not be adversely affected, but a smoke-free Orchard Road also has potential benefits for businesses.

First, the non-smoking segment is a far bigger segment of consumers for Orchard Road merchants, as the majority of Singaporeans are non-smokers.

Second, merchants could take advantage of Orchard Road being the only shopping area that is smoke-free, and attract more consumers to shop there.

They could promote this as a unique smoke-free shopping experience, or as a healthy activity for the whole family.

Third, consumers like me who previously avoided Orchard Road because of the smoke-filled pavements will now be happy to patronise the area more frequently and show our support for a smoke-free shopping environment.

Merchants could, in fact, be gaining back some of what they have lost.

Far from dooming Orchard Road, the smoke-free experience could instead give it a shot in the arm.

Lim Teck Koon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2017, with the headline 'Smoking ban could be the breath of fresh air Orchard needs'. Print Edition | Subscribe