Committee of Supply debate

Smoking ban to extend to reservoirs, parks

On list: Over 400 parks, including those in private and public estates

People walking at Bishan Park.
People walking at Bishan Park. PHOTO: ST FILE

Parliament debated the budgets for the ministries of Transport, the Environment and Water Resources, and Social and Family Development yesterday. Here are the highlights.

Smokers have to stub out in more public places from June.

Reservoirs and more than 400 parks, including those in private and public housing estates, have been added to the list of smoke-free areas.

The parks include those managed by JTC Corporation and town councils, as well as neighbourhood parks managed by the National Parks Board (NParks) in private estates, like Yunnan Park in Jurong West.

The new move comes three years after the smoking ban was extended to common areas, such as void decks, sheltered walkways and linkways, and any area within a 5m radius of a bus stop.

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor, in announcing the change yesterday, said the Government's long-term goal is to snuff out smoking in all public areas.

This is to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, she said during the parliamentary debate on the budget of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

Smokers caught lighting up in reservoirs and parks in the first three months will get a warning.

"This is to give members of the public time to adjust to the extension of the smoking prohibition," said the National Environment Agency (NEA).

But smokers who repeatedly flout the law "in spite of prior warnings" can be fined, NEA added.

The fine for smoking in NParks' neighbourhood parks in private housing estates is up to $2,000, while in other prohibited places it is at most $1,000.

Currently, smoking is prohibited in 32,000 places such as shopping malls, cinemas and hospitals. Last year, about 17,000 fines were handed out to smokers.

NEA also said owners of premises affected by the latest extension can set up designated smoking areas in their premises.

It added that it has been working with them to put up "No Smoking" signs, and to re-locate bins with ashtrays or replace them with bins without them.

Separately, premises managed by the Singapore Armed Forces and Ministry of Home Affairs will come under the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act.

The NEA said the new rules will not change how both agencies punish their personnel for smoking on their premises. But civilians caught doing so will have their personal particulars handed to the NEA for enforcement action.

Correction note: An earlier version of this article stated that civilians caught smoking on SAF and MHA premises would have their particulars handed to the two organisations for enforcement action. It is actually the NEA that will take enforcement action. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Smoking ban to extend to reservoirs, parks'. Subscribe