E-poll on smoking prohibition launched

PHOTO: E-poll on smoking prohibition launched

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency (NEA) is commencing a public consultation exercise on extending the list of smoke-free places to further protect the public from second hand smoke.

To kick start this, NEA, in partnership with the Health Promotion Board (HPB), is conducting an online survey, or "e-poll", to gather public feedback on where smoking should or should not be banned.

Among other questions, the e-poll asks residences if smoking corners in places such as hawker centers and food outlets should be removed.

The e-poll will run from Nov 25 to Dec 31, 2011, and can be accessed through the REACH, which is the Singapore Government's e-engagement platform, NEA or HPB websites.

The feedback will be used in the review of smoking prohibition measures, and will also be forwarded to the relevant agencies for consideration, NEA said.

Currently, smoking is prohibited in 37 types of public locations and five types of public transport.

NEA said the number of smoking related feedback it received increased by 19 per cent last year, and people have been calling for the extension of the list of smoke-free places.

Some of the places where a smoking ban has been suggested include common areas of residential buildings, walkways and parks.

As second-hand smoke contributes to a range of serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory illness - the top causes of death among Singaporeans - there is a need to protect the majority of Singaporeans who do not smoke, NEA said.

NEA's Deputy CEO Khoo Seow Poh said more feedback will be sought from stakeholders, such as building owners, after the poll closes.