Tougher smoking curbs: Food operators fret; smokers say they'll adjust to new rules

Left: Smoking areas at outdoor seating areas in eateries in Orchard Road will be a thing of the past come June 30 next year. Right: A smoking corner at a Toa Payoh coffee shop. New applications for smoking corners at food establishments will not be a
A smoking corner at a Toa Payoh coffee shop. New applications for smoking corners at food establishments will not be accepted, with immediate effect, said the National Environment Agency yesterday. Those with existing smoking corners will get to keep them so long as they renew their food shop licence.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Left: Smoking areas at outdoor seating areas in eateries in Orchard Road will be a thing of the past come June 30 next year. Right: A smoking corner at a Toa Payoh coffee shop. New applications for smoking corners at food establishments will not be a
Smoking areas at outdoor seating areas in eateries in Orchard Road will be a thing of the past come June 30 next year.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

While most welcomed the move to ban smoking at public places in the Orchard Road area, some food retail operators there anticipate business may take a hit.

Mr Peter Han, business development manager at Black Angus Steakhouse, said the restaurant can already predict the outcome when the new rules kick in for food establishments in the Orchard Road area on June 30 next year.

When applying for a smoking corner recently, the restaurant made a mistake in the application and consequently did not receive an approval. Mr Han said business at the restaurant at Orchard Parade Hotel in Tanglin Road was slightly affected as a result, about a month ago.

He said: "It does turn away customers, especially foreigners, who are usually the ones who smoke."

"They find it inconvenient to walk out (of the restaurant) to smoke, especially when it rains; it spoils the ambience," he added.

The Straits Times spoke to several people spotted smoking along Orchard Road, and they said they would adjust to the new rules.

"I am used to (smoking) being banned everywhere I go... I will find somewhere else (to smoke) where it is permitted," said Mr Troy Liu, 34, who owns a travel and technology start-up.

 
 

Ms Niki Chua, 32, said the ban will mean the shopping belt will look cleaner. "Some people smoke outside and throw (their cigarette butts) on the plants," she added.

But the sales assistant said it will also be troublesome for smokers. They will have to hunt down the designated smoking areas.

The list of places where smoking is prohibited has been growing over the years, with reservoirs and more than 400 parks added in June last year. This is in addition to void decks, shopping malls, hospitals and any area within a 5m radius of a bus stop.

Health experts said the new measures signalled a progression to Singapore becoming smoke-free.

"Some people will find it a strong measure, but this shows the commitment of the Government for the nation to adopt a smoke-free lifestyle," said Dr K. Thomas Abraham, Sata CommHealth chief executive and an anti-smoking advocate.

ST VIDEO

Orchard Road to become mostly smoke-free. str.sg/4aiW

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Food operators fret; smokers say they'll adjust to new rules'. Print Edition | Subscribe