In case you missed it — In the latest Parliament sitting, MPs has called on the Government to make it illegal for people to smoke inside their own flats
This was a result of MPs reacting to the amendments made to the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act. Yes it is a mouthful.
According to news reports, the amendment will allow for NEA officers would be given greater enforcement powers to enter premises to investigate smoking-related offences where smoking is prohibited, e.g. in nightclubs and pubs. Smoking bans can also be implemented in certain areas in Singapore.
But MPs think that more should be done to protect residents from secondhand smoke in their own homes.
Take a few examples:
Louis Ng felt that it would “seem at odds to protect people from secondhand smoke in the public areas where they spend less time and not protect them at home where they spend more time”.
MPs like Rahayu Mahzam and Cheryl Chan also gave examples of their residents (and young children) being affected by the secondhand smoke from their neighbours.
So what are the MPs suggesting?
Joan Pereira suggested that it should be made illegal for smoke to drift out of homes and people “should not be standing near the windows, doors or corridors to smoke. If smoke is detected outside the flat, the resident should then be considered to have violated the law”.
Other suggestions included banning people from smoking in their homes near a window or door that is within five metres of a neighbour’s window and door, and having smoking areas set up near each HDB block.
The MPs felt that such penalties built in to the legislation will send a strong message to the smokers, and can also protect the health of the others.
Fine(r) city for being a Big Brother state?
Given the harmful impacts of inhaling secondhand smoke, such suggestions seem reasonable — you are trying to protect the health of the non-smokers. Or rather on the surface.
Because we are not quite sure how such a legislation can be implemented.
For such measures to be enforced, we’re thinking that these MPs would have to suggest for a cigarette smoke alarm, or CCTV to be installed in every home – so that they can catch smokers in the act? They got to make sure that the smoke alarm is only triggered by cigarette smoke only, if not they would be blaring throughout the day from aunties cooking meals for their families.
Are we going to see NEA officers busting through smokers who are smoking in their own homes? Since they are, afterall, getting greater enforcement powers under the amended laws.
Why not have the government make space suits for Singaporeans then, so that smokers can smoke in their suits and non-smokers can remain smoke-free in their suits?
This is a slippery slope that will lead to Singaporeans asking for more and more things to be banned. Things you don’t like, or seemed to be causing a nuisance, e.g. people who are smelly on the train? or the stray coughers on the trains?
The list goes on and on. Where will it end?
Perhaps Singaporeans should take this into their own hands — especially for smokers to be considerate to their neighbours.
Non-smokers perhaps can be paggro and make their own version of ‘Stand Up Staceys’ (you can name it “No-smoke Normans”) to paste on their smoker neighbours’ doors.