Oral reply by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Smoking Prohibition on 3 October 2017

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Question by Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what is the rationale for the policy of only penalising the management of food establishments when patrons flout the no-smoking regulation; and (b) why is there no accountability expected of those who intentionally commit smoking offences despite reminders by the food establishment staff, management and other patrons.



          My Ministry’s long-term goal is to prohibit smoking in all public areas except at designated smoking areas.  This is to protect non-smokers from the harmful health effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.

2.       The National Environment Agency (NEA) actively conducts inspections and patrols to ensure compliance with smoking prohibition regulations. Persons caught smoking in areas where smoking is prohibited, such as in shopping malls and foodshops, are liable for a maximum fine of $1,000. In 2016, about 19,000 tickets were issued to smokers for smoking in prohibited areas, including more than 2,600 tickets issued to those found smoking in food establishments.

3.       As smoking is prohibited in more than 32,000 premises, it is not possible for the NEA to watch over every location.  It is also not possible for our officers to respond immediately to every report of smoking in a prohibited place before the smoker finishes his cigarette.  The operators and managers of smoke-free premises, therefore, have a legal duty to stop patrons from smoking or to request patrons to leave the premises if they refuse to stop smoking. In cases where the patrons do not stop smoking or leave the premises, the operator or manager of the premises could seek assistance from NEA. In 2016, NEA took about 400 enforcement actions against the operators and managers of premises who had not fulfilled their duty under the law.  

4.       While my Ministry will continue to enforce against any person who smokes in a smoking prohibited place, I would like to urge all smokers to be considerate when smoking in public places and to smoke only in permitted areas so as not to cause disamenities to others.

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