Number of smoking offences in Orchard Road down by 28%

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said yesterday the number of recorded offences decreased from 21 cases per day on April 1, 2019 to around 15 cases per day at present.
Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said yesterday the number of recorded offences decreased from 21 cases per day on April 1, 2019 to around 15 cases per day at present. ST FILE PHOTO

The number of smoking offences in Orchard Road has fallen from 21 cases daily in April 1 last year, to around 15 per day currently, said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor yesterday.

She was responding to a question in Parliament from Mr Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC), who asked for an update on the implementation of the smoking ban in Orchard Road, which came into force on Jan 1 last year.

The Orchard Road no-smoking zone was implemented as part of the Government's efforts to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

Smokers can light up only in Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) within the zone.

"An advisory approach was adopted in the first three months of the implementation, to give the public sufficient time to adjust to the smoking prohibition.

"A daily average of 735 advisories were issued to offenders between January to March 2019. With greater public awareness, this number fell sharply when enforcement started on April 1, 2019," said Dr Khor.

"The number of recorded offences decreased from 21 cases per day on April 1, 2019 to around 15 cases per day at present."

That represents a drop of 28 per cent.

Dr Khor said that the National Environment Agency (NEA) works with the Orchard Road Business Association to ensure the sufficient provision of DSAs within Orchard Road, which is a relatively large area with numerous commercial premises.

"There are now more than 50 DSAs in the NSZ (no-smoking zone) spaced about 100m to 200m apart," she said, calling that figure "currently sufficient".

She explained that the DSAs are located in less conspicuous locations away from the main pedestrian thoroughfare, to ensure that smoking is contained and not done in clear view of passers-by.

This will help protect public health and avoid normalising smoking.

"NEA will continue to monitor the ground situation and review the location of DSAs, if necessary."

Mr Yong also raised the issue that smokers have moved away from the no-smoking zone, to light up in the residential estates on its fringes, bringing disamenities to residents there.

He said smokers have been congregating at spots such as along Nutmeg Road and Jalan Lada Puteh, even moving dustbins to create their own smoking corners.

In response, Dr Khor said that NEA is aware of the issue.

While smoking outside the boundary of the no-smoking zone is not prohibited, Dr Khor said NEA has sent enforcement officers to the affected areas to monitor the situation, and also to take action against anyone committing public health offences such as littering of cigarette butts.

"We have also sought to relocate any litter bins around the area farther away from the residential premises, so that they (smokers) do not congregate near to the residential homes.

"We've also engaged the service provider in that area to step up the cleaning frequency to ensure the cleanliness of the area," she added.


Correction note: An earlier version of this article reported that Dr Khor said there are now more than 15 designated smoking areas in Orchard Road. It should be more than 50 designated smoking areas. We are sorry for the error.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2020, with the headline Number of smoking offences in Orchard Road down by 28%. Subscribe