Smoking laws: NEA replies

SINGAPORE - We thank Mrs Sherley Servos ("Still more work needed to protect non-smokers"; Forum Online, May 26) and Mr Francis Cheng ("Catch them in the act"; May 31) for their views and suggestions.

As we extend the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act to cover more public areas to help protect the public from the harmful health effects of second-hand cigarette smoke, we are also mindful that until such time when we become a smoke-free society, we will have to be pragmatic in terms of facilitating compliance with these laws by smokers.

Smoking within one's residential premises is currently not prohibited.

In our scan of overseas examples of smoke-free housing, we note that these are marketed as such by their developers, and those who buy such property do so knowing the restrictions in place.

The residents of such developments also need to agree to police these self-imposed restrictions through their own by-laws.

While we hope smokers would do the right thing and smoke only in permitted areas, there is still the need to enforce against the small minority who do not heed the law.

As at May 31, the National Environment Agency has taken 6,822 enforcement actions against smokers who flout the smoking prohibition law.

We will continue to take a firm stance against such offenders.

Residents, too, can help by reminding smokers not to light up in places where smoking is prohibited.

Tai Ji Choong


Environmental Health Department

National Environment Agency

This article was first published on June 9, 2014.
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