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NEA received an average of more than 3,000 smoking complaints a month in 2020: Amy Khor

NEA received an average of more than 3,000 smoking complaints a month in 2020: Amy Khor

A sign is seen for a no smoking zone outside an office building in Singapore on Nov 27, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) received an average of about 2,900 reports a month on smoking in prohibited areas, and 210 on smoking in non-prohibited areas in 2020.

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor said this in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 2) in response to a question by MP Yeo Wan Ling (PAP-Pasir Ris-Punggol).

Ms Yeo had asked about the number of complaints over smoking in such areas, and whether authorities had considered redefining prohibited smoking areas based on different parameters.

Dr Khor said that NEA has been progressively extending the smoking prohibition to more places where the public are likely to be exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke.

READ: IN FOCUS: Singapore wants fewer people to smoke. How can it make this happen?

“Human traffic volume is already one of the considerations when determining smoking prohibited places, alongside other factors such as whether the places are enclosed, and frequency of visits by families and vulnerable groups,” she said.

But besides the Government’s efforts on smoking prohibition, she urged smokers to “exercise social responsibility and refrain from lighting up where the tobacco smoke can affect those around them”.

“Families and friends of smokers, as well as the general public, can help to reinforce positive social norms,” she said.

In response, Ms Yeo also noted how certain walkways were heavily frequented by families and seniors, but also had litter bins with ashtrays that enable smokers to light up.

She asked if authorities would consider moving these bins to areas where there was less human traffic.

READ: Nearly 700 fines issued for smoking in prohibited areas in a month since start of circuit breaker: NEA

Dr Khor noted that NEA has received similar feedback, adding: “NEA has responded to this feedback by working with the relevant agencies and premises owners to relocate these bins, particularly those with ashtrays, to places where there is less footfall, away from the main thoroughfare.”

She noted that NEA has also worked with town councils and grassroots organisations to distribute advisories in residential estates, reminding smokers to be considerate when lighting up, and not to smoke in prohibited areas.

Source: CNA/cl(rw)

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