Oral reply by SMS Dr Amy Khor, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Smoking Ban in Orchard Road Area, on 7 April 2020
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources with the implementation of the smoking ban in the Orchard Road area on 1 January 2019 (a) what is the trend in the number of offenders since the implementation; (b) whether there are plans to add more designated smoking areas; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider moving these designated smoking areas away from main pedestrian thoroughfare.
The Orchard Road No-Smoking Zone (NSZ) came into force on 1 January 2019, as part of the Government’s efforts to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke. An advisory approach was adopted in the first three months of the implementation, to give the public sufficient time to adjust to the smoking prohibition. A daily average of 735 advisories were issued to offenders between January and March 2019. With greater public awareness, this number fell sharply when enforcement started on 1 April 2019. The number of recorded offences decreased from 21 cases per day on 1 April 2019 to around 15 cases per day at present.
The NSZ covers a relatively large area with numerous commercial premises. As such, NEA works closely with the Orchard Road Business Association or (ORBA), and building owners to ensure sufficient provision of designated smoking areas or (DSAs). There are now more than 50 DSAs in the NSZ, spaced about 100 to 200 metres apart. The number of DSAs in the NSZ is currently sufficient.
Given the high footfall and densely built-up nature of Orchard Road, careful consideration is made on the location of DSAs. As far as possible, the DSAs are sited in less conspicuous locations and away from the main pedestrian thoroughfare, to ensure that smoking is contained and not done in clear view of passers-by. This will help protect public health and avoid normalising smoking. NEA will continue to monitor the ground situation and review the location of DSAs if necessary.
Everyone plays a part in keeping the environment clean and liveable. Families and friends of smokers, as well as the general public, can help reinforce the right social norms through timely and friendly reminders for smokers to use the DSAs.