Forum: Learn from the Thais - ban smoking at home

I hope a smoking ban will be introduced and will extend to smoking around landed properties (Ban smoking near windows and on balconies in homes, says Louis Ng, ST Online, Oct 5).

I wish to highlight one statistic: Out of all the smoking complaints received by the authorities, only 320, or 5 per cent, involved smoking in homes. This is probably a gross under-representation of the true number of victims of second-hand smoke.

I live in a landed property and have neighbours who smoke. Cigarette and cigar smoke drift into our house, particularly at night and on weekends when everyone is home. Even with the doors and windows closed, the smoke enters through gaps between the openings.

We are thus trapped indoors, unable to enjoy fresh air or the use of our outdoor space whenever they are smoking, for as long as the stench lingers.

I have never complained to the authorities - I felt that with no law in place, I would just be told that they have a right to smoke within their own compound.

We have not spoken to our neighbours about this.

If smokers would subject their own family members to second-hand smoke, what chance would there be of them listening to neighbours?

I believe many victims have not lodged complaints against their neighbours for similar reasons.

The ill-effects of second- and third-hand smoke (the chemical residue of tobacco smoke on surfaces) are incontrovertible.

Therefore, allowing second-hand smoke to affect a family member or drift to neighbours' homes should be treated as seriously as battery - an act that causes physical harm.

We should not let difficulties of enforcement prevent us from taking the first step of passing this law to protect innocent victims. In fact, we can even take a leaf out of Thailand's book and ban smoking in homes altogether.

Evelyn Yap