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Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliament Question on Smoking Prohibition on 8 May 2017

TOPICS: Cleanliness

Question by Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) since the list of non-smoking areas was extended to include common corridors, void decks, sheltered link ways and parks, how many smokers have been caught for violating the non-smoking law; (b) what are the penalties imposed; and (c) whether the Ministry is stepping up its enforcement action.

 

Answer by Minister Masagos Zulkifli:  

          My Ministry’s long term goal is to prohibit smoking in all public places except at designated smoking areas. This is to protect non-smokers from the harmful health effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.  

2        In 2013, the smoking prohibition was extended to sheltered walkways and linkways, and common areas within any residential premises or buildings, including common corridors, staircases and stairwells of HDB and private residential buildings.  Last year, the smoking prohibition was extended to neighbourhood parks within residential estates and those under the purview of the Jurong Town Corporation.  Those who are caught smoking in areas where smoking is prohibited are liable to a maximum court fine of $1,000.

3        The National Environment Agency (NEA) conducts inspections and patrols to ensure compliance with the smoking prohibition.  From 2013 to 2016, the NEA issued over 62,000 tickets for violations of the smoking prohibition at all prohibited places, with more than twice as many tickets issued in 2016 compared to 2013. 

4        My Ministry will continue to take enforcement actions against those who are caught smoking in smoking prohibited areas. However, as smoking is currently prohibited in more than 32,000 premises, it is not possible for the NEA to watch over every location where smoking is prohibited. It is also unrealistic for NEA to respond immediately to a reported incident of smoking in a prohibited place, for example, before the smoker finishes his cigarette. Operators and managers of premises are required to do their part to stop patrons from smoking in smoking prohibited areas and request patrons who smoke to leave the premises.

5        I would like to urge all smokers to be considerate when smoking in public places and to smoke only in permitted areas so as not to cause disamenities to others.

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