Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Dedicated Smoking Facilities by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Dedicated Smoking Facilities
Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment whether dedicated smoking facilities can be built in town areas to encourage smokers not to smoke in public places, to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke.
Town areas, such as the central business district, are generally not smoking-prohibited zones under the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Regulations (SPCPR). Premises owners may set up smoking facilities in these areas with the approval of the relevant land agencies and owners. However, within the town areas, there are pockets of smoking-prohibited places such as bus stops, covered pedestrian walkways and shopping malls, where smoking facilities are not permitted. In town areas which are designated as no-smoking zones under the SPCPR, such as the Orchard Road No-Smoking Zone, smoking facilities are allowed but are subject to prescribed requirements.
The provision of smoking facilities, whether in town areas or outside, should be carefully considered. Smoking facilities have to be sited carefully to minimise the public’s exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Based on our recent analysis of smoking feedback data and ground observations of the trial at Nee Soon South constituency, the presence of designated smoking points has not reduced public feedback on smoking, as compared to other neighbouring divisions without such facilities.
Smoking facilities are likely to become congregation points for smokers. The proliferation of smoking facilities may inadvertently normalise smoking, especially among the youth. We want to avoid this as far as possible. In view of the above considerations, we currently have no plans to build smoking facilities at town areas.
The National Environment Agency will continue to monitor and enforce against smoking violations at town areas and other smoking-prohibited locations.
We urge smokers to abide by the smoking prohibition, and strive to quit the smoking habit for the benefit of their own health, their loved ones, and the community.