Survey: Majority supportive of proposed smoking ban in homes but question enforcement

By EdgeProp Singapore / EdgeProp | September 14, 2018 4:40 PM SGT
Earlier this week, Members of Parliament have called for a ban on smoking in HDB homes, citing residents’ complaints about second-hand smoke and the various health risks associated with it.
This comes as Parliament passed amendments to the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act on September 10. The Act allows authorities to designate more no-smoking zones and give officers more enforcement powers.
Amid concerns of intrusion into private spaces, the majority of respondents in our recent survey indicate that they are supportive of the smoking ban. Based on a recent poll survey on our Instagram account, over 60% of our respondents agreed that smoking should be banned in HDB homes.
We asked and you answered: Over 60% of our Instagram respondents said “yes” to banning smoking in HDB homes
However, if the rule comes to pass, there are various challenges and considerations that will come with the implementation of the ban. For instance, how will the ban be enforced?
What can authorities do?
To protect residents from second-hand smoke in their own homes, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng had asked if the law could be extended to prohibit smoking in a home at a window or door that is within five metres of a neighbour’s windows and doors.
"These restrictions are based on the logic that cigarette smoke can be expelled up to five metres away," he said.
The proposed restrictions are not unlike those already being implemented as part of a nationwide ban on smoking in public housing in the United States (US).
Starting 31 July, the smoking of cigarettes, cigars and pipes is prohibited in all public housing units and common areas within 25 feet (7.62m) of public housing grounds in the US. Electronic cigarettes have not been banned as of yet but may be in the future.
Aside from residents, the smoking ban in US public housing units also applies to housing employees, guests and visitors. Those who smoke can do so outside of the property or move to a smoking area if one is available.
But while such measure could be feasible in practice, there are concerns regarding its implementation, especially as such regulations could be seen as impinging on what residents can or cannot do at home, says Jurong GRC MP Rahayu Mahzam.
She adds the issue should not be taken lightly as it would inevitably entail bringing to bear the necessary investigation and enforcement powers into homes.
Further, the regulatory approach could be seen as intrusive and cause detriment to community harmony and ownership.
What are your thoughts on a potential smoking ban in homes and how can it be effectively enforced? Let us know in the comments’ section below!