Dark days are ahead for smokers in Singapore with smoking being prohibited in all public areas along the Orchard Road area from July 1, 2018 onwards, save for a few Designated Smoking Areas. This was announced by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Friday.
The smoke-free zone will start from Tanglin Road to Dhoby Ghaut MRT. Here is a map of the areas that are to be smoke-free:
In addition, the NEA will also not be accepting any applications for smoking corners from any food retail outlets, with immediate effect. Stores with existing smoking corners will be able to keep them until their current licence runs out or is revoked.
Food retail outlets with existing licences for smoking areas can also apply to renew their licence with the exception of those along Orchard Road. Food outlets along Orchard road will have their smoking licences terminated as well, starting from June 30 next year.
So, where CAN you smoke?
Due to the constant changes in smoking laws, it is easy to get confused over what smokers can or cannot do now, so here are some of the more important rules one should take note of, whether you are a smoker or not.
Legal age of smoking to be raised to 21
Though not officially put into action yet, the minimum legal age one has to be before they are allowed to smoke is to be raised from 18 to 21.
This includes not only the purchase, but the use, and possession of any and all tobacco related products.
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor has stated that half of the population's smokers pick up smoking before they turn 21, which is why this particular law has been put into place to deter younger people from smoking.
No smoking in parks
As of June 1 last year, smoking was prohibited near reservoirs, as well as over 400 different parks.
The parks on the list include those being managed by the various town councils, as well as those under the National Park Board (NParks). To be on the safe side, it would be better not to smoke in any park at all.
The fine for smoking in these prohibited areas, should you be caught, can go up to $2,000.
The rules put into place have been done so for the sake of preventing non-smokers who may be using these public areas from inhaling second-hand smoke.
Tobacco products to be banned from public display
Walk into any 7-Eleven or convenience stall from Aug 1 onwards and you will no longer be able to spot any cigarette packs from the counter. That is due to the new law put into place which states that any retail outlet selling tobacco products are not allowed to leave them in plain visible sight to any customer.
Instead, retailers will have to store the products in a plain, opaque cupboard or cabinet. Customers may still be allowed to ask about cigarette sales, to which only then can shop owners produce a text only price list - approved by the Ministry of Health - to show to customers.
The prohibitions put into place here have been done so for the sake of improving public health, as well as as to reduce public exposure to the advertising effect of having cigarettes put on public display, thus also reducing tobacco sales and consumption.
List of places where one can smoke
Aside from parks and reservoirs, the list of areas where smoking is prohibited is actually much longer. Here is the complete list, just in case you need to remind yourself where smokers are not allowed to smoke.
However, there still exists certain areas in our country where smoking is still allowed. Here is a (soon to be shortened) list of them:
- Residential Homes
- Private vehicles (e.g. car), excluding private buses
- Open space in residential estates
- Open public spaces (e.g. Marina Promenade) except at Orchard Road Precinct Smoke-Free Zone
- Open space in town centres
- Surface carparks
- Uncovered areas of the top of multi-storey carparks
- Uncovered walkways
- Vacant land
- Designated smoking areas at smoking prohibited places
- Approved smoking rooms at entertainment outlets
- Approved smoking corners at outdoor refreshment areas of food establishments