Orchard Road smoking ban

Warnings for lighting up in no-smoking zone to end

Smokers in a Designated Smoking Area at the side of Orchard Towers. Those who flout the rules from Monday face composition fines of $200 or court fines of up to $1,000.
Smokers in a Designated Smoking Area at the side of Orchard Towers. Those who flout the rules from Monday face composition fines of $200 or court fines of up to $1,000.ST FILE PHOTO

3-month advisory period ends tomorrow; from Monday, those caught will face a fine

Smokers who light up outside designated areas in Orchard Road will be fined from Mondayas the authorities move towards full implementation of the smoking ban in the shopping district.

A three-month advisory period, in which offenders are let off with warnings, will end tomorrow.

Those who flout the rules from Monday face composition fines of $200 or court fines of up to $1,000.

From January to mid-March, the number of advisories issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA) dropped by more than 70 per cent, from an average of 1,900 a day in the first week of January to an average of 550 a day by mid-March.

NEA began to issue written advisories instead of verbal ones from March 18.

NEA said the number of advisories then dipped further to 87 a day, which was a 95 per cent reduction since the start of the three-month advisory period.

NEA, in a statement yesterday, said the three-month grace period was meant to give people sufficient time to adjust, adding that the majority of smokers advised against lighting up in prohibited areas had been receptive.

NEA polled 539 people over seven weeks from January to this month on the smoking move in Orchard Road.

Among smokers, who accounted for 20 per cent of respondents, 82 per cent agreed that the amount of second-hand tobacco smoke in the main Orchard Road stretch had been reduced.

 
 
 
 

A substantial number or 62 per cent of smokers said that the overall visitor experience had improved.

With the end of the advisory period, NEA has contacted the management of various buildings to remind them to display sufficient "No Smoking By Law" signs, to use bins without ashtrays and to place signs at entrances to direct smokers to the nearest Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs).

They should also inform their tenants and staff about the rules.

Currently, at least 50 DSAs - located at regular intervals within the precinct's no-smoking zone - have been set up.

Most are marked as yellow boxes outside shopping centres and hotels.

The authorities will continue to work to raise the public's awareness of the no-smoking zone and the locations of the DSAs from next month.

There will be floor stickers at selected locations in Orchard Road's main pedestrian thoroughfare and electronic posters will also be displayed at the baggage claim areas at Changi Airport.

Brochures will also be available at tourist information racks at arrival halls of the airport, and advertisements will be put up at Changi Airport MRT station.

NEA has warned that it will be strict against smokers who flout the law. Last year, more than 30,000 tickets were issued for smoking in prohibited areas.

The agency has encouraged members of the public to remind smokers not to light up in prohibited places and to be considerate when smoking.

Dr Sue Lo, director and senior consultant medical oncologist at The Harley Street Heart & Cancer Centre, said: "By segregating smokers from the non-smokers, it removes the risk of exposure to the non-smokers, as well as reducing the temptation faced by smokers who are trying to quit the habit."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'Warnings for lighting up in no-smoking zone to end'. Print Edition | Subscribe