The Municipal Services Office (MSO) is seeking proposals from businesses for ideas to reduce second-hand smoke at its source or to prevent it from entering neighbouring homes.

With more people spending time at home due to the pandemic, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and National Development Sim Ann has called on businesses, including start-ups, to share ideas to help address the issue of second-hand smoke drifting from neighbouring houses, reported The Straits Times (ST).

The call includes an appeal for smoke-sensor solutions which can help residents resolve disputes on second-hand smoke.

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Currently, residents affected by unwelcome second-hand smoke may seek to resolve the matter via legal means.

“The legalistic way is, however, not always the most ideal. We would also like to work with the business community and industry to inject greater creativity and innovation into resolving this complex issue,” said Sim, who oversees the Municipal Services Office (MSO).

She made the statement at a closed-door virtual session with close to 40 firms.

Aggrieved residents who are unsuccessful in engaging their neighbours via mediation or dialogue can file a claim against the smoker at the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal.

In February, the Ministry of Law revealed that the tribunal has received 38 claims relating to excessive smoke from 2018 to 2020.

However, residents face various challenges when filing a claim like detecting the second-hand smoke’s origin, gather evidence of the smoker in the act as well as proving that the smoke affected them, noted Sim.

With this, the MSO seeks smoke-sensor solutions which can help resolve these challenges.

The MSO is also seeking for proposals to reduce second-hand smoke at its source or to prevent it from entering neighbouring homes.

Enterprises whose proposals are awarded may receive support for the development of their solutions via funding, technical mentoring as well as test-bed facilities at the Centre of Building Research of HDB in Woodlands and in HDB estates.

Since June, a 6-month pilot of two enhanced designated smoking points has been ongoing at Clementi’s public housing estates.

“Smoking in homes is an emotive issue for both non-smokers and smokers alike, and the efforts of all stakeholders are needed to resolve it,” said Sim as quoted by ST.

“I always believe that when we find ourselves wondering what to do, it is not because no solution exists but simply because we have not found it yet.”


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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email: