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Singapore

Smoking ban extended to more public areas

The smoking ban will soon be extended to more public areas in Singapore. These include common corridors, void decks and staircases within residential buildings, sheltered walkways and overhead bridges.

SINGAPORE: The smoking ban will soon be extended to more public areas in Singapore. These include common corridors, void decks and staircases within residential buildings, sheltered walkways and overhead bridges and outdoor hospital compounds.

Smoking will also be prohibited within a five metre radius around bus shelters.

Implementation details of the smoking prohibition will be refined in consultation with the community and building owners.

Announcing this in Parliament, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, Grace Fu, said the long term goal is to prohibit smoking in all public places, except designated smoking areas.

Earlier in 2005, a smoking ban at all bus stops was introduced. Dustbins were also placed at the edge of the bus shelter to encourage smokers to move away from their fellow commuters.

Ms Fu also said that she hopes more hawker centres will make the move to make their premises smoke-free. She added that the ministry will also consider extending the smoking ban to selected parks and town areas.

MP for Nee Soon GRC, Lee Bee Wah, had earlier called for better enforcement of the smoking ban.

Dr Lee said: "Another thing which can sour a person's daily experience is the exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke. While there is currently a smoking prohibition for some places, public spaces such as linkways, overhead bridges and parks do not have such restrictions. Having laws is one thing, but having it enforced is (another)."

In response, Ms Fu said: "Community engagement and individual responsibility are key to successful implementation as there is a limit to the resources we can commit to enforcing a wider smoking prohibition.

"Going forward, with more areas gazetted as non-smoking, we will need clearer demarcation of areas where smoking is allowed, with everyone playing their part to observe the rules. Our aim, in collaboration with the Health Promotion Board, is to work towards a future where Singaporeans consider smoking not only detrimental to health, but also socially unacceptable."

This latest extension follows a public poll conducted in 2011 through the government feedback portal, REACH, where there was broad support to extend the ban to places where non-smokers cannot reasonably avoid.

Source: CNA/ac

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