SINGAPORE - Orchard Road will go smoke-free from Jan 1 next year, when lighting up in public areas will be allowed only within designated smoking areas and there will be no more smoking corners in eateries within the precinct.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) will be ramping up publicity for the No Smoking Zone in the coming weeks through signs, advertisements and other efforts to keep both locals and tourists informed, it said in an update on Wednesday (Nov 28).
The precinct-wide smoking ban, first announced last year, was set to kick in in July this year but was pushed back to the end of the year to give businesses in the area more time to prepare.
About 40 designated smoking areas have been set up as of Nov 22 at suitable locations to ensure that the main Orchard Road pedestrian thoroughfare would be free of cigarette smoke, the NEA said.
Most of the smoking areas are spaced between 100m and 200m apart.
Brochures listing the locations of designated smoking areas will be made available at shopping malls and places where tobacco products are sold, while signs will be erected near lamp posts and bins in the area, the agency said.
Advertisements will also be put up at MRT stations, selected bus stops and on buses that ply Orchard Road.
To keep foreign visitors informed, the Singapore Tourism Board has incorporated information on its website about the No Smoking Zone, which is bordered by Tanglin Mall to the west, Dhoby Ghaut MRT station to the east and Goodwood Park Hotel to the North .
There will also be publicity materials displayed at points of entry such as Changi Airport, the Singapore Cruise Centre and Marina Bay Cruise Centre, and travel agents, tourist guides and hotels will be informed.
The NEA said it will take an "advisory approach" for the first three months of the roll-out, when those caught smoking outside of designated smoking areas will receive a verbal warning.
Repeat offenders and those caught doing so from April 1, however, may face fines of up to $1,000.
"NEA will monitor the compliance to the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone and step up enforcement presence where necessary. Operators and managers of smoking prohibited premises are also required by law to request smokers to cease smoking or direct them to the nearest designated smoking area if they wish to continue smoking," it said in a statement.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.