Take bold step to curb second-hand smoke

I appreciate the Government's efforts to curb the harmful effects of smoking (NEA officers get more powers to investigate smoking violations; Sept 11).

However, I'm disappointed that despite the calls from some MPs for the Government to take stronger action against smokers in residential flats whose second-hand smoke affects their neighbours, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said "such an intrusive regulatory approach to tackling neighbourly issues could ultimately be even more detrimental to community harmony".

I must say that I'm bemused by such thinking. Is the Government saying that in the name of community harmony, smokers can simply carry on harming their neighbours?

Smokers may choose to risk their lives by inhaling first-hand smoke, but they must not be allowed to kill others via second-and even third-hand smoke.

The Government must not shun making difficult and unpopular decisions, and it has not done so in the past, such as in the banning of chewing gum which doesn't kill or even harm anyone.

It should be courageous enough to ban smoking and penalise smokers who are also hurting their family members and neighbours with their habit.

Lives are at stake here.

Lim Boon Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2018, with the headline 'Take bold step to curb second-hand smoke'. Print Edition | Subscribe