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Enforcement Action To Be Taken Against Persons Smoking In Orchard Road No Smoking Zone From 1 April 2019

29 Mar 2019

Three-month advisory period ends on 31 March 2019. More than 50 Designated Smoking Areas available in the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone.

Singapore, 29 March 2019 – In line with the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) vision of prohibiting smoking in all public areas, the Orchard Road precinct has become a No Smoking Zone (NSZ) with effect from 1 January 2019, where smokers can only light up at Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) in the NSZ. NEA would like to remind members of the public that the three-month advisory period, where persons caught smoking outside DSAs are let off with warnings, will end on 31 March 2019.

2          The advisory approach in the first three months of the implementation of the Orchard Road NSZ is to give members of the public sufficient time to adjust to this smoking prohibition extension. From January 2019 to the middle of March 2019, the number of advisories issued decreased by more than 70%, from a high average of 1,900 advisories a day in the first week of January to an average of 550 advisories a day in mid-March 2019. Since 18 March 2019, NEA enforcement officers have started to issue written, instead of verbal, advisories to smoking offenders in the Orchard Road NSZ. The number of advisories has gone down further to 87 a day, representing a 95% reduction in advisories the start to the end of the three-month advisory period. During this period, when advised by NEA officers and volunteers to comply with the law to not light-up in the smoking prohibited areas, the vast majority of smokers have been receptive and proceeded to smoke in the DSAs.

End of three-month advisory period

3          The three-month advisory period will end on 31 March 2019. From 1 April 2019, enforcement action will be taken against all persons who smoke in the public areas within the NSZ other than at the DSAs. Those caught smoking outside the DSAs may face a composition fine of $200, or up to the maximum court fine of $1,000. 

4          NEA has reached out to the management of building premises situated in the NSZ, to remind them on the commencement of enforcement from 1 April 2019. Their assistance is sought, for instance, to display sufficient ‘No Smoking By Law’ signs conspicuously, replace bins with ashtrays with those without, and display signs at entrances to direct smokers to the nearest DSA(s). They are also to inform their tenants and staff about the new prohibition and commencement of enforcement, and request smokers to cease smoking when smoking violations are observed within their premises.

Designated Smoking Areas progressively set-up in Orchard Road since 2016

5          NEA has been working closely with the Orchard Road Business Association, government agencies, as well as owners and management of building premises in the Orchard Road precinct on the implementation of the NSZ since 2016. With support from the various stakeholders, DSAs have been set up progressively over the years within the NSZ to reduce second-hand tobacco smoke exposure to non-smokers while still allowing those who need to smoke to do so in designated areas away from the main thoroughfare of Orchard Road.   

6          There are now more than 50 DSAs located at regular intervals within the Orchard Road NSZ. Most of the DSAs are marked as yellow boxes outside shopping centres and hotels. According to the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Regulations, the DSA in an NSZ must be an area that is not enclosed, and should not cause inconvenience or obstruction to persons in the vicinity. It must have a conspicuous sign displayed, indicating that the area is designated for smoking, have clearly demarcated boundaries and a bin for cigarette butt disposal. 

7          Premises owners who deem it necessary to cater to the needs of smokers among their occupants and visitors, may also demarcate DSAs on their premises and put up directional signs leading to them. Guidelines on the DSAs can be found on NEA’s website, and locations of the DSAs are also made available on OneMap and the myENV app.

Outreach to general public and visitors to Singapore

8          Extensive publicity has been carried out to increase the public awareness of the Orchard Road NSZ. Apart from major newspapers, advertisements have also been placed at selected MRT stations, bus stops and on public buses that ply Orchard Road. NSZ signs have been affixed on bins and selected lamp posts in the Orchard Road NSZ. In addition, banners and advertisements can be seen on social media platforms. Posters and brochures are also placed throughout shopping centres, hotels and retail points for tobacco products in Orchard Road.

9          To keep foreign visitors and inbound travellers informed of the NSZ, informational materials are available at the Orchard Road Singapore Visitor Centre, and the points of entry into Singapore such as the Singapore Cruise Centre and Marina Bay Cruise Centre. NEA has also reached out to relevant partners, such as associations, licensed tour guides and taxi companies. For instance, about 200 licensed tour guides have been briefed, in addition to a circular on the Orchard NSZ that was sent to all tour guides in December 2018.

10        From April 2019, NEA will continue with efforts to raise the general awareness of the Orchard Road NSZ and locations of the DSAs within the Orchard Road precinct. Members of public can expect to see floor stickers at selected locations along the main pedestrian thoroughfare in NSZ. Electronic posters will also be displayed at the baggage claim areas in Changi Airport terminals, brochures will be made available at Tourist Information racks in Changi Airport arrival halls, and there will be advertisements put up at Changi Airport MRT station. There will also be informational materials at point-of-sales of tobacco products located island-wide.

Sentiments towards the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone

11        NEA conducted a poll with 539 respondents over seven weeks from January to mid-March 2019 in Orchard Road, to get a better sense of the public sentiments towards the NSZ. With the Orchard Road precinct becoming an NSZ, more than 80% of the respondents agreed that the amount of second-hand tobacco smoke in the main thoroughfare has reduced, and the overall visitor experience has improved. Even among the 20% of respondents who are smokers, 82% agreed that the NSZ has reduced second-hand tobacco smoke while 62% agreed that the NSZ improved overall visitor experience. For a summary of updates on the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone, please refer to an infographic in Annex A.

Smoking regulations and enforcement

12        Under the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act, it is an offence to smoke or hold a lit cigarette or any other form of tobacco product which is alight or emitting smoke in a smoking prohibited area. This is because a lit cigarette is still emitting harmful smoke. NEA reminds smokers to light up only in areas where smoking is permitted, such as the DSAs within the Orchard Road NSZ. Operators and managers of smoking prohibited premises are also required by law to request smokers to cease smoking or direct them to leave the premises if they wish to continue smoking.

13        A strict stance is taken against smokers who flout the law and NEA officers patrol smoking hotspots, both proactively and in response to public feedback. In 2018, more than 30,000 tickets were issued for smoking in prohibited areas.

14        However, given the large number of places where smoking is prohibited, it is not possible for NEA officers to watch over them all the time. Everyone can play a part by reminding smokers not to light up in smoking prohibited places, and to be socially responsible and considerate when smoking in public places.

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For more information, please contact us at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632) or submit your enquiries electronically via the Online Feedback Form or myENV mobile application.

     ANNEX A

Summary of updates on the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone

Orchard Rd Precinct Infographic