SMOKERS in Nee Soon South are set to get up to 50 more designated public spots where they can light up, following a successful year-long pilot scheme.
Six 3m by 3m shelters have already been erected in the area in a project to reduce second-hand smoke, which was funded by the National Environment Agency (NEA).
After receiving requests for more shelters to be installed, Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah has set up a committee which will look to provide funding for between 36 and 50 new ones.
It hopes to find a sponsor for each shelter and a competition will be held in collaboration with the Public Hygiene Council to improve the current umbrella-style design.
"We are aware that the design of (the points) is not perfect now," Ms Lee said. "We are looking at how to further improve it." Comfort, functionality and practicality are among the areas she is focusing on.
Smoking in public areas such as void decks is banned by the NEA and smokers have told Ms Lee that they would like to see more designated areas closer to their homes, as well as shops and workplaces.
Hairstylist Karen Lian and customers at her Nee Soon South salon have been fined $200 each several times for lighting up along the corridor outside her shop.
"It's hard to do business when we want to smoke," she said, referring to the times she has to leave her shop to smoke at an open area a distance away.
A non-smoker, 45, who gave his name as Roland, also welcomed the idea of more designated smoking areas. "It moves the smokers away from the void deck," said the engineer.
However, former smoker and local resident H.C. Lim, 66, called them a "waste of funds". "No one uses it as it's too far and inconvenient." The closest smoking point to his home was a five-minute walk away.
Another resident, 59, who declined to be named, said: "You can't expect old people in wheelchairs to go there to smoke... People want to smoke after a meal or coffee without the trouble of going over there."
Ms Lee believes more smokers will use the shelters when they discover the effects second-hand smoke can have on their family.
She said she is "not discouraged by those who don't use it, but rather encouraged by those who use it". "It's about education," she said.
This article was first published on Jan 28, 2015.
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