Public areas within Orchard Road will be designated as a No Smoking Zone (NSZ) with smoking only allowed at designated smoking areas (DSAs) from 1 January next year, following a six-month delay.
Smoking corners at food retail establishments within the zone will also be rescinded by 31 December, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a press release on Wednesday (28 November).
As of last Thursday, about 40 designated smoking areas have been set up. These include those at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, Hilton Singapore and Orchard Towers.
“With the strong support from Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) and the various stakeholders, we have identified suitable locations and set up DSAs within the NSZ to keep the main Orchard Road pedestrian thoroughfare free of cigarette smoke,” said the agency.
It added that the majority of the Designated Smoking Areas are about 100 to 200m apart to “facilitate the compliance of smokers to the NSZ and ensure a sufficient spread of DSAs within a reasonable distance”.
The NEA said that it will take an advisory approach in the first three months of the roll-out of the Orchard Road NSZ.
“However, smokers caught smoking in existing smoking prohibited areas, such as covered linkways and bus-stops, will continue to face enforcement actions. Those caught smoking in other public areas within the NSZ will receive verbal warnings. However, smokers who repeatedly flout the law in spite of prior warnings may also be issued a fine,” it added.
From 1 April next year, enforcement action will be taken against all offenders who smoke in public areas within the NSZ, other than at DSAs. Premise owners are encouraged to demarcate DSAs and put up directional signage within their premises, said NEA.
“NEA will monitor the compliance to the Orchard Road NSZ and step up enforcement presence where necessary. Operators and managers of smoking prohibited premises are also required by law to request smokers to cease smoking or direct them to the nearest DSA if they wish to continue smoking,” said the agency.
Raising awareness of NSZ
The agency will be ramping up publicity on the NSZ in the next few weeks to raise awareness about the upcoming smoking prohibition to be implemented on 1 January, with community volunteers already starting to engaging the public within the precinct.
Brochures listing the locations of DSAs will be made available at shopping malls and point-of-sales of tobacco products. Signage will be erected at lamp posts and bins in the area.
Advertisements will also be put up at the Orchard, Somerset, Newton and Dhoby Ghaut MRT stations, selected bus stops and on buses that ply Orchard Road.
“To keep foreign visitors informed of the NSZ, NEA and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) have incorporated information about the NSZ on STB’s Visit Singapore webpage,” the NEA said.
Inbound travellers will also be alerted through publicity materials displayed at the points of entry such as Changi Airport, Singapore Cruise Centre and Marina Bay Cruise Centre.
Tourism industry stakeholders such as travel agents, tourist guides and hotels will also be
updated on the NSZ.
“NEA takes a strict stance against smokers who flout the law and our officers conduct
regular enforcement at smoking prohibited areas,” said NEA.
In 2017, about 22,000 tickets were issued for smoking in prohibited areas. A person who is caught smoking in these areas faces a fine of up to $1,000.
Since 2015, the agency has made preparations for the implementation of the Orchard Road NSZ and have worked closely with the ORBA, government agencies, as well as owners and management of building premises in the Orchard Road precinct.
The NSZ in the shopping belt was originally slated to take effect from 1 July, the NEA announced last year. It was postponed after businesses in the area requested for more time to make arrangements to comply with the new regulations, NEA said then.
Since 30 June last year, NEA has stopped accepting applications for new smoking corners in food retail establishments island-wide.
Existing smoking corners that had already been approved and which reside outside the NSZ would be allowed to remain until the current licences of the food retail establishments are terminated or cancelled.