60% of smokers surveyed support smoking ban at Orchard Road: NEA

It's been one year since smoking has been banned at Orchard Road.

Jane Zhang | January 18, 08:31 pm


Since Jan. 1, 2019, Orchard Road has been designated a No Smoking Zone (NSZ), smokers are only allowed to smoke in Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs).

In the year since the NSZ was first instated, there has been a more than 50 times reduction in smokers caught smoking outside of DSAs in the Orchard Road precinct, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Reduction in prohibited smoking at Orchard Road

In a press release by NEA on Jan. 17, 2020, an average of 735 advisories per day were given out during the advisory period between January and March 2019.

The period was meant to give members of the public time to adjust to the implementation of the NSZ.

Enforcement started on Apr. 1, 2019, and an average of 21 tickets were issued daily during that month, before reducing to a daily average of 14 tickets for the rest of 2019, between May 1 and Dec. 1.

no smoking zone orchard
Daily average number of tickets issued to smokers for smoking outside DSAs in the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone. Figure via National Environment Agency.

NEA pointed to the reduction in the daily average of number of tickets issued as evidence that smokers were generally aware that the Orchard Road precinct had become a No Smoking Zone.

NEA’s enforcement officers, which include both uniformed and non-uniformed officers, are deployed into the Orchard Road NSZ for “enforcement against public health offences”, such as smoking in prohibited areas.

NEA reported that since enforcement started in Apr. 2019, most smokers who were approached have been cooperative. NEA will monitor compliance to the Orchard Road NSZ, and increase enforcement presence where necessary.

There are currently more than 50 DSAs located at regular intervals within the Orchard Road NSZ.

Supportive of ban

1,000 respondents were surveyed by NEA in July 2019 to get a sense of public sentiment toward the implementation of the Orchard Road NSZ.

Out of the 1,000 respondents, 400 were smokers.

According to NEA, 80 per cent of all respondents — including 60 per cent of smokers surveyed — supported the No Smoking Zone.

The top reason that smokers who supported the NSZ implementation cited was the positive public health impact.

In addition, 80 per cent of non-smokers felt positively about the implementation’s impact on them.

Surveillance cameras

Due to the large area covered by the Orchard Road NSZ and to increase efficiency, NEA has been deploying surveillance cameras at selected areas along the NSZ.

These cameras monitor certain hotspots and enable enforcement resources to be deployed more efficiently, the agency said.

A two-week trial was conducted in 2019, and more will take place in the first half of 2020 at other public areas.

The additional trials are meant to guide NEA in determining the operational feasibility of such technology, they added.

Related stories:

Smokers queue up outside Lucky Plaza Designated Smoking Area just to smoke

Smoker fined along Orchard Road, allegedly because 1 foot was outside yellow box

Smoker allegedly fined near 313 Somerset for smoking outside faded yellow box

Top image via Thinkstock and FB / Adam Atelophobia.

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