SINGAPORE: If you are a smoker, finding a spot to light your cigarette in Orchard Road will be more difficult from July next year, as the shopping belt will be transformed into a smoke-free zone, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Friday (Jun 30).
Smoking at Orchard Road will only be allowed at designated smoking areas (DSAs), and there are currently five of them in the zone:
- Behind Somerset MRT station
- Cuppage Terrace
- Far East Plaza
- Orchard Towers
- The Heeren
Building owners in Orchard Road are also free to set up their own designated smoking areas within their properties, but they will have to comply with guidelines set out by the National Environment Agency (NEA), which will conduct inspections to ensure compliance.
Smoking corners at food establishments in Orchard Road will also be banned from July 2018. There are currently 16 such places.
Landed homes within the smoke-free zone will not be affected. The open areas within non-landed residential premises, like condominiums, will also not be affected, except for places such as exercise areas and playgrounds where smoking is already prohibited.
NO MORE SMOKING AREA APPLICATIONS FOR F&B OUTLETS
Starting Friday, authorities will also stop accepting applications from food outlets islandwide to set up smoking areas in their premises.
Smokers can still smoke at existing corners at these outlets outside Orchard Road until the existing licence for these places end.
VERBAL WARNINGS FOR OFFENDERS IN INITIAL PERIOD
For the first three months after July 2018, those caught smoking in the smoke-free zone in Orchard Road will receive verbal warnings, and those who ignore the warnings may be issued a fine. From October next year, enforcement action will be taken against offenders who smoke in public areas within the smoke-free zone, other than DSAs.
Last year, 19,000 tickets were issued for smoking in prohibited areas.
From now until Orchard Road goes smoke-free, NEA will ensure that No Smoking signs are put up and bins with ashtrays are replaced with those without them.
NEA has been engaging the Orchard Road Business Association and other stakeholders in the area since 2015.
“The Orchard Business Association continually takes steps to improve the visitor experience in our precinct,” said the association’s executive director Steven Goh. “We welcome NEA’s move and will continue to work closely with NEA to ensure the successful implementation of the smoke-free zone.”
Speaking to reporters on Friday, director-general of Public Health at NEA Derek Ho said Orchard Road was a “natural” choice for a smoke-free zone as it is “an area of high human traffic”.
The authorities are also looking at extending the smoke-free zone to more areas, he said.
When asked if the ban will receive backlash from smokers, Mr Ho said: “I think we will have to continue to balance both the interests of smokers and non-smokers.
“This progressive rollout of the ban, as well as designating these DSAs, is to allow smokers to have some space to continue to smoke, but also at the same time to separate and protect the non-smoking public.”