Orchard Road smoking ban: More than 4,000 tickets issued to smokers last year

Orchard Road smoking ban: More than 4,000 tickets issued to smokers last year

Orchard Road
On Orchard Road, smokers typically light up on the sides of the wide pedestrian thoroughfare. (Photo: Fann Sim)

SINGAPORE: More than 4,000 tickets were issued last year to smokers caught lighting up outside the designated smoking areas in the Orchard Road, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Friday (Jan 17).

About 26 per cent of the tickets issued were to tourists, it added. 

The Orchard Road precinct was designated a No Smoking Zone in January last 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".

During that three-month period, a daily average of 735 advisories were issued to offenders, NEA said.

In April, when enforcement kicked in, a daily average of 21 tickets were issued. This fell to about 14 tickets a day between May 1 and Dec 31.

“This is a more than 50 times reduction since the start of Orchard Road No Smoking Zone, and a one-third reduction since enforcement began on April 2019,” the agency said.

READ: Orchard Road smoking ban: Better visitor experience or inconvenience?

'SMOKERS AWARE OF NO SMOKING ZONE'

The reduction in the number of tickets issued showed that smokers were aware of Orchard Road being a No Smoking Zone, said NEA.

It also said that 80 per cent of 1,000 people (400 of whom were smokers) surveyed in July last year supported the No Smoking Zone in Orchard Road, with most citing the positive impact on either public or personal health.

"Since implementation of the No Smoking Zone, the Orchard Road pedestrian thoroughfare is comparatively cleaner for all non-smoking visitors, whilst smokers have adjusted to smoking within the designated smoking areas,” said Mr Steven Goh, executive director of Orchard Road Business Association.

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

USING VIDEO ANALYTICS TO DETECT SMOKERS

In addition to the deployment of enforcement officers, NEA also used surveillance cameras to monitor certain hotspots at selected areas along the No Smoking Zone, it said in its release on Friday.

Going forward, it aims to leverage technology even further.

In 2019, it conducted a two-week trial on the feasibility of using video analytics to detect smoking incidents in public areas. This proved to have close to 80 per cent accuracy, said NEA.

It intends to conduct more trials in the first half of this year at other public areas where smoking is prohibited or where there have been complaints.

"These additional trials will also guide NEA in determining the operational feasibility of this technology, as part of our enforcement process," it said.

NO SMOKING REMINDERS

To promote public awareness of the No Smoking Zone, NEA said it has replaced older grey stickers with blue stickers on more than 100 litter bins along Orchard Road. 

orchard road no smoking zone no smoking stickers
Sample visual of bin with new sticker (Photo: National Environment Agency)

In addition, the agency said that informational material will continue to be made available at the Orchard Road Singapore Visitor Centre, and at points of entry into Singapore to keep tourists informed of the No Smoking Zone.

Tourist maps distributed by the Singapore Tourism Board will also continue to indicate the No Smoking Zone boundary, it added. 

Source: CNA/nr

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