Orchard Road smoking ban: Fines for smokers who light up outside 'yellow boxes' from Apr 1

Orchard Road smoking ban: Fines for smokers who light up outside 'yellow boxes' from Apr 1

file photo of smoking
File photo of a person smoking. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: Smokers who light up outside designated smoking areas in Orchard Road may be fined from Monday (Apr 1), said the National Environment Agency (NEA), following a three-month advisory period where errant smokers were let off with warnings.

The Orchard Road precinct was designated a No Smoking Zone from Jan 1 this year, save for about 50 designated smoking areas - or yellow boxes - where individuals can light up.

A three-month advisory period was implemented after Orchard Road was declared a No Smoking Zone to "give members of the public sufficient time to adjust", NEA said in a release on Friday. 

The advisory period will end on Sunday and enforcement action will be taken against errant smokers from Monday.

Those caught smoking outside the designated smoking areas may face composition fines of S$200, or court fines of up to S$1,000.

READ: Orchard Road to be smoke-free zone from January 2019

NEA said it issued "a high average of 1,900 advisories a day" in the first week of January when the No Smoking Zone first kicked in.

This fell more than 70 per cent to an average of 550 advisories a day in mid-March 2019, it added.

NEA enforcement officers began issuing written, instead of verbal advisories, to errant smokers from Mar 18 and since then, the number of advisories has dropped further to 87 a day, said NEA.

READ: NEA will use cameras to detect illegal smoking - here's how it could work

RAISING AWARENESS OF ORCHARD ROAD NO SMOKING ZONE

"NEA has reached out to the management of building premises situated in the No Smoking Zone, to remind them on the commencement of enforcement," it said in the release.

NEA has asked for their assistance in implementing the measures, such as by replacing bins with ashtrays with those without, and asking smokers to stop smoking when violations are observed within their premises.

Outreach efforts to the general public have also been carried out to remind people that Orchard Road is a No Smoking Zone, including through advertisements at selected MRT stations, signs, posters and brochures. 

NEA said it will continue efforts to raise the general awareness of the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone. 

"Members of public can expect to see floor stickers at selected locations along the main pedestrian thoroughfare in the No Smoking Zone", NEA said.

"Electronic posters will also be displayed at the baggage claim areas in Changi Airport terminals, brochures will be made available at Tourist Information racks in Changi Airport arrival halls, and there will be advertisements put up at Changi Airport MRT station," it added, noting that informational materials will be placed at shops selling tobacco products islandwide.

READ: Singapore to introduce plain packaging, larger graphic warnings for all tobacco products

NO SMOKING ZONE HAS "IMPROVED OVERALL VISITOR EXPERIENCE": SURVEY

NEA said that a public sentiment survey it conducted on Orchard Road being demarcated a No Smoking Zone showed that more than 80 per cent of respondents "agreed that the amount of second-hand tobacco smoke in the main thoroughfare has reduced, and the overall visitor experience has improved".

The poll was conducted with 539 respondents between January and mid-March 2019 in Orchard Road.

"Even among the 20 per cent of respondents who are smokers, 82 per cent agreed that the NSZ has reduced second-hand tobacco smoke while 62 per cent agreed that the NSZ improved overall visitor experience," NEA said.

Source: CNA/aa(aj)

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