More areas could have designated smoking points

More areas could be turned into smoke-free zones in the Government's drive to snuff out smoking in all public areas.

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor told Parliament yesterday that her ministry is exploring the feasibility of doing this by studying the effectiveness of designated smoking areas.

Five such smoking points had been set up in Orchard Road in January last year in a trial project for smokers to use them voluntarily.

But from July, smokers will be required to use such designated smoking spots if they want to light up in Singapore's main tourist and shopping area.

Dr Khor was replying to MPs who asked if more could be done to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke.

They include Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) and Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC).

Ms Lee wanted to know if more housing estates could have designated smoking areas. Her ward Nee Soon South is the only one with such smoking areas, which smokers use voluntarily.

Dr Khor replied that her ministry will look at the results of the ongoing study of Orchard Road and "see how we can scale this up". She also said there is no intention to mandate smoking rooms in public buildings as most are smoke-free.

BEING CONSIDERATE

At the end of the day, we need to urge and get the smokers to be socially responsible, to be considerate when smoking.

SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES AMY KHOR, on how enforcement alone is not the panacea to curb inconsiderate smoking behaviour.

As for residents who suffer from second-hand smoke coming from their neighbours' homes, she told Ms Sun Xueling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) that homes, being private spaces, are outside the jurisdiction of the Government.

She advised these residents to resolve the issue amicably with their neighbours or go to a community mediation centre for help.

Enforcement alone is not the panacea to curb inconsiderate smoking behaviour, she added. "At the end of the day, we need to urge and get the smokers to be socially responsible, to be considerate when smoking."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2018, with the headline 'More areas could have designated smoking points'. Subscribe