A Bedok resident came under fire in 2019 after being caught smoking outside his HDB unit by a thermal camera. In case you didn’t know, you’re allowed to smoke inside your HDB flat, but not outside your home.
To avoid getting into similar trouble, here are 3 things you need to take note of before you light up your next cigarette!
1. You Can Smoke Inside Your HDB Home, but Not Outside of It
As mentioned above, while smoking is allowed inside one’s HDB apartment, step outside of your home with a lit cigarette and you may run into trouble with the law.
This is because areas such as common corridors, stairwells, staircase landings and void decks are all listed as non-smoking areas under the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act, which is administered by the National Environment Agency (NEA).
Since January, NEA has conducted around 70 thermal camera deployments within residential areas, as well as other areas with persistent feedback on smoking issues. These thermal cameras are able to detect objects emitting high heat and can capture images of the smoking offence.
2. You Can’t Smoke in Public Parks or Reservoirs Either
Since June 1, 2016, the ban has also been extended to reservoirs and public parks, including those within private and public housing estates.
The same goes for pedestrian overhead bridges, covered or underground walkways, as well as pavilions within any residential premises or buildings meant to hold functions.
NEA officers do actively enforce this law. If caught, you may be fined $200 or up to $1,000 if convicted in court. Last year, the agency issued over 30,000 tickets for smoking within prohibited areas.
This is part of NEA’s efforts to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke since the act was introduced in 1970.
3. However, You Can Smoke in Your Own Car
Smoking is allowed in private areas such as your own home or in your car. However, when it comes to smoking in private vehicles, drivers would need to be mindful that this is only allowed as long as no second-hand tobacco smoke is expelled (i.e. windows are fully wound up) in smoking prohibited places.
For instance, a smoking ban at the Orchard Road shopping belt has been enforced since April 1, 2019.
Certain open spaces, such as uncovered walkways, surface carparks or dedicated smoking facilities, allow smoking too. The list of places where smoking is allowed and banned can be found on the NEA website.
What Happens if You Don’t Smoke but Have a Smoking Neighbour?
While it may be illegal for a neighbour to smoke at an HDB corridor, calling the authorities might not be the best idea.
Often, having an amicable discussion over such concerns is the best way to go.
Besides, your neighbour may not know that the second-hand smoke is affecting you even if they are legally smoking within their own homes.
If all fails, you may reach out to the Community Mediation Centre, where both parties will be brought together in the presence of a mediator who can help to resolve such conflicts.
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