LAST_UPDATESat, 21 Apr 2018 9pm

Watch Out For Long List Of Places Where Smoking Is Prohibited In Singapore

SINGAPORE -- There are more than 40 places where smoking is prohibited in Singapore, according to the website of Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA).

Among the places include queues in public places, public toilets, hawker centres, entertainment outlets such as pubs, bars, discos and lounges, and any area within a 5-meter radius from bus shelters.

The Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act administered by NEA is part of Singapore's effort to promote a smoke-free lifestyle in the republic.

Smoking prohibition in Singapore was first introduced in 1970 and NEA has been gradually expanding the list of smoke-free places covered under the Act in consultation with the public and relevant stakeholders.

NEA noted that the Government's long-term policy goal is to prohibit smoking in all public areas to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

NEA seeks to reach this goal by progressively extending the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act to more public places where the public will be impacted in their daily lives.

Given the large number of places where smoking is prohibited, it is not possible for NEA to deploy officers to watch over all these locations at all times.

As for a list of areas where smoking is generally allowed, Singapore has about 11 areas.

The areas include beaches, residential homes, private vehicles excluding private buses, open space in residential estates, uncovered walkways, and vacant land.

There are also designated smoking areas at smoking prohibited places, including approved smoking rooms at entertainment outlets and approved smoking corners at outdoor refreshment areas of food establishments.

Besides that, Singapore is planning to raise legal age for smoking and buying tobacco products to 21 from 18.

"We want to protect our young from the harms of tobacco, and lay the foundation for good health," Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor was reported saying in Parliament on March 9.

The restrictions will cover the retail and social supply of tobacco products to minors; and the purchase, use and possession of tobacco products by minors.

It will be phased in over the next few years.

Dr Khor said that in Singapore, 45 percent of smokers become regular smokers between the ages of 18 and 21.

Citing a World Health Organization (WHO) report, Dr Khor said that people who do not start smoking before the age of 21 "are unlikely to ever begin."

With these efforts, Singapore has been crowned as the healthiest country in Asia and the fourth healthiest country in the world.

Singapore only lost out to Italy, Iceland and Switzerland in the Bloomberg 2017 Healthiest Country Index, released in a report dated March 20.

The index ranked 163 countries based on variables such as life expectancy, causes of death and health risks such as high blood pressure, tobacco use, malnutrition and the availability of clean water.