Forum: Only the law can stop people from smoking near windows

I am a senior citizen who would like to thank MP Louis Ng for once again bringing up the subject of legislating a ban on smoking at windows and balconies of Housing Board flats and residential apartments. I have been breathing in second-hand smoke from my neighbours for a long time.

There are smokers who are decent and who would apologise and refrain from smoking at their windows and balconies when approached, and there are also those who refuse to listen and continue to blow smoke into my home.

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor mentioned that in the first four months of last year, only 320 smoking complaints involved smoking in homes.

But this number probably does not include the vast number of people who suffer in silence.

I believe there are many more unreported cases, as many people, like me, realise that it is useless to make a report.

My condominium manager told me that even after a National Environment Agency officer spoke to a smoker, he continued to smoke at his window and balcony.

Dr Khor seems to suggest that difficulty in enforcing the law is reason enough not to enact such a law.

I beg to differ. Do we have to install cameras in cars to ensure that people are wearing their seat belts? Just a piece of legislature will get people to wear them.

Regardless of the difficulty of enforcement, such legislation is powerful enough to save lives.

Most smokers are considerate and civic-minded; they listen and care. However, only the law can tackle the minority of smokers who are selfish and inconsiderate.

These smokers do not smoke inside their premises but at windows and balconies as they want to protect their own children and families but disregard the health of their neighbours.

Dr Khor mentioned that the Government has been and will continue to expand smoke-free places. Again, this does not solve the problem. I can avoid going to places where people smoke but I have nowhere to go when they are smoking right outside my window at home.

I appeal to the Government to protect us. One life lost to second-hand smoke is one life too many.

Cheh Khee

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