askST: What do the latest rules mean for smokers?

It gets tougher to take a puff in public as smoking areas are cut, minimum age is raised, e-cigarette ban imminent

Smokers cannot light up freely in many more places since new rules started coming into effect last year.

Since Oct 1, smoking has been banned in the outdoor areas of universities and inside the compounds of private institutions, except in designated smoking areas, said the National Environment Agency.

Smoking is also banned within 5m of educational institutions like preschools, madrasahs, junior colleges and polytechnics.

Excursion buses, trishaws and private-hire cars used by firms such as Grab and Uber are also out of bounds for smokers.

The move is an extension of the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act, which aims to reduce the exposure of the public to second-hand smoke, and also support the national effort to promote a smoke-free lifestyle in Singapore.

Come July 1, public areas in Orchard Road will also be smoke-free, with the exception of designated smoking areas.

Since Oct 1, smoking has been banned in the outdoor areas of universities and inside the compounds of private institutions. Smoking is also banned within 5m of educational institutions like preschools, madrasahs, junior colleges and polytechnics.
Since Oct 1, smoking has been banned in the outdoor areas of universities and inside the compounds of private institutions. Smoking is also banned within 5m of educational institutions like preschools, madrasahs, junior colleges and polytechnics. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

NEA has stopped accepting applications for new smoking corners in all food retail establishments islandwide since June 30 last year, although existing smoking zones in food retail establishments will be allowed to remain until the current licence is terminated or cancelled.

In addition, the minimum age for smoking - now 18 years - has been raised progressively.

This will be raised to 19 from Jan 1 next year and progressively thereafter every January until 2021, when smokers will have to be 21 before they can take their first puff.

The authorities are also cracking down on the consumption of imitation tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, e-cigars and e-pipes.

Amendments to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, approved by Parliament in November last year, ban people from buying, using and owning these products.

The ban is slated to come into force over the next few months and extends the current ban on the sale, import and distribution of battery-powered devices that heat nicotine-infused liquids to produce a vapour for inhalation.

The move to keep cigarettes out of sight - and hopefully out of mind - started in August last year, with a point-of-sale display ban on tobacco products.

All general retailers are not allowed to display tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, beedies, and ang hoon, within the direct line of sight of the public and have to use plain, undecorated storage devices instead.

However, the rules do not apply to specialist tobacco sellers, who merely have to make sure that their products are not visible from outside the shop.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2018, with the headline 'What do the latest rules mean for smokers?'. Print Edition | Subscribe