Written reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Secondhand Smoke, on 3 November 2020
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment whether the Ministry can include a specific category of “secondhand smoke from neighbour” on NEA’s online feedback form to accurately capture the amount of concerns on this issue.
1 The National Environment Agency’s (NEA) online feedback form is designed for the public to provide information on issues regulated by NEA. Currently, the feedback form lists 13 categories which cover the most common types of feedback received by NEA, such as smoking at prohibited places, littering and mosquito breeding. In addition, there is a general category for the submission of feedback on other issues, including secondhand tobacco smoke from neighbours. Feedback providers can select one of these 13 categories when submitting their feedback.
2 The form is designed to be user-friendly and hence, care has been taken to list the more common feedback issues. Having too finely cut categories covering the broad range of issues under NEA may make the feedback process cumbersome and even increase the chances of erroneous tagging by feedback providers.
3 Feedback on secondhand tobacco smoke from neighbours submitted through the form remain small. Secondhand tobacco smoke from neighbours in homes constitutes just 1.2% of total feedback submitted through the form this year. This is much lower than some of the most common feedback areas such as mosquito breeding, which accounted for 16% of the total feedback. Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor the feedback on secondhand tobacco smoke from neighbours to see if this category warrants inclusion in the form.
4 In addition, every feedback item recorded in NEA’s system is promptly looked into and tagged appropriately. In the backend, NEA will sieve out the feedback on specific issues and monitor the trends accordingly.
5 Besides NEA, there are other accessible channels for the public to provide their feedback on smoking-related matters. The Municipal Services Office, Housing Development Board, Health Promotion Board and Town Councils also receive such feedback and will respond accordingly. All these agencies work closely together on joint-solutioning to address feedback on smoking.