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Smoking ban to cover more public places from 1 Oct 2005


Excerpt of Statement by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources on 8 MARCH 2005

"I shall now address the issue of the ban on smoking in public places.
"The Government has always viewed smoking as a serious health issue. We have put in place measures to discourage smoking and protect non-smokers against the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
"These measures have been effective in bringing down the proportion of smokers in the population. Currently, only 14% of our population are smokers, down from 18% in 1992. This decrease is particularly significant for males. Among males aged 18-69, the proportion of smokers has decreased from 33% to 24%.
"However, we see a worrying trend of young females picking up smoking. Over the same period, the proportion of smokers among females aged 18-24 almost tripled from 2.8% to 8.2%, in contrast to a reduction from 29% to 24% for males in the same age group!
"We must continue to act decisively against smoking and in particular, make extra effort to stop the young from picking up the habit. The Minister for Finance has already announced an increase in excise duty on cigarettes to discourage smoking. In parallel, my Ministry is reviewing the ban on smoking in public places.
"The Government introduced the ban on smoking way back in 1970, initially in public buses, cinemas and theatres.
"This was progressively extended to many other public areas including lifts [1973], amusement centres [1982], fast-food outlets [1988], air-conditioned restaurants [1989], air-conditioned barbershops and hair dressing salons [1992], air-conditioned workplaces [1994], queues in public places [1995] and air-conditioned shops [1997].
"The reason I am reiterating these is to demonstrate that the Government has committed itself to increasingly protect non-smokers from the effects of smoking.
"The ban on smoking was not always welcomed by smokers and businesses. Smokers were inconvenienced and businesses could be affected. But businesses adapted. The Government had to press on, because we know we have a duty to protect the health of our non-smokers...
"Mdm Cynthia Phua has asked if we will extend the ban on smoking to even more public areas in the future. In view of the dangers posed by second-hand smoke, my answer to Mdm Phua's question is "Yes".
"I am therefore announcing that the Government intends to further extend the ban on smoking in a number of public areas.
"Today, the ban on smoking in public swimming complexes, open air stadia and community clubs is enforced as a house rule. My Ministry will officially extend the ban on smoking to public swimming complexes, open air stadia and community clubs by 1 Oct 2005.
"Currently, smoking is also banned in queues as it is difficult for non-smokers in queues to avoid second-hand smoke. For the same reason, we will be extending the ban to bus shelters, bus interchanges and public toilets by 1 Oct 2005.
"My Ministry also plans to extend the ban on smoking to entertainment outlets such as pubs, bars, discos, nightclubs and KTV lounges...
"My Ministry recognizes the concerns of operators who fear that a ban on smoking could affect patronage and result in a drop in business income. NEA will be consulting operators and trade associations to address their concerns and explore measures to mitigate any possible business impact before the ban is announced later this year.
"NEA will consult the relevant business associations on extending the smoking ban to hawker centres and coffee shops. A decision on the ban on smoking in hawker centres and coffee shops will be made by the end of this year after all the consultations have been completed.
"My Ministry will continue to review the list of public places as and when necessary so as to better protect the health of our population from the threat of second-hand smoke. The public also recognizes the risks posed by second-hand smoke.
"In the long-run, my Ministry's intent is to do away with the need for an exhaustive list and move towards allowing smoking only in private premises, wide open spaces and designated smoking areas."

Full Text of Statement

Source: Ministry of the Environment & Water Resources News Release 8 Mar 2005

Related Articles:
Smoking ban in eating places starts today (1 Jul 2006)
Hawker centres, coffeeshops and cafes prepare for smoking ban


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8 March 2005