Orchard Road smoking ban to kick in at end-2018 instead of July 1, says Singapore agency

Operators entering the food-and-beverage business, setting up a new outlet, or have just bought over an eatery will no longer be able to apply for smoking permits. ― TODAY file pic
Operators entering the food-and-beverage business, setting up a new outlet, or have just bought over an eatery will no longer be able to apply for smoking permits. ― TODAY file pic

SINGAPORE, June 14 — Plans for Orchard Road to be smoke-free from July 1 will be pushed back by about six months, the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced yesterday (June 13).

This is because some businesses have given feedback that they need more time to make the necessary preparations to comply with the “no-smoking zone” at the popular shopping belt. This includes identifying suitable locations and the setting up of designated smoking areas, and to familiarise smokers on the whereabouts of these new spots.

The new date of when the smoking ban will kick in will be decided later, NEA said in its statement.

Under new regulations announced by the agency last June, all public areas within the Orchard Road shopping belt will become smoke-free zones from July this year and smoking will be permitted only at designated areas.

The smoke-free precinct is bordered by Tanglin Road to the west, Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station to the east, and Goodwood Park Hotel to the north.

ince last June, work have begun to put up screens at designated smoking areas along publicly owned spaces on Orchard Road, such as Orchard Towers, Far East Plaza, The Heeren, Cuppage Terrace, and behind Somerset MRT Station. Others are located in private properties such as Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, Ngee Ann City and Plaza Singapura. There are about 40 such spots to date, NEA said.

Islandwide, the agency has stopped accepting applications for new smoking corners in food retail establishments since last June. Those that had already been approved for businesses which reside outside the no-smoking zone would be allowed to remain until the licences of these retailers are terminated, and no new smoking corners will be approved for licensees of the same premises after that.

With the extension of the deadline for Orchard Road businesses to prepare for this switch to the new designated smoking areas, smoking corners that are already in food retail establishments within the no-smoking zone will continue to be in place for another six months before their removal, NEA added.

The majority of the businesses in Orchard Road are supportive of the no-smoking initiative, the agency said, and they are working to set up designated zones for smokers within their premises.

In support of this effort to have a smoke-free environment, the Orchard Road Business Association has been organising free weekly events such as fitness workouts, health screening, talks and workshops for a year.

The association's executive director Steven Goh said: “Besides improving visitor experience in the Orchard Road precinct, the no-smoking zone may also reduce cigarette consumption and motivate our employees to make better health choices.” ― TODAY

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