With the entry of the New Year, several initiatives that have been developed from the previous year are now being put into effect. Among these include Orchard Road becoming a smoke-free zone, which limits cigarette smoking to more than 40 designated areas (stations) only.
And while this new policy is great news for the environment and the health of those who frequent the shopping district, more are needed to be done to stress the importance of limiting the practice of smoking, especially among the younger population.
Smoking Age Limit Goes up to 19 in Singapore
According to a press statement of the Ministry of Health, the minimum legal age for the purchase, use, possession, sale and distribution of tobacco products will be increased from 18 to 19 years old starting January 1, as shared in a report by the Straits Times.
Following this development, the succeeding years will also see a progressive increase to the age limit until it 2021, which will have set the minimum age of 21 for smokers in Singapore.
With the removal of smoking corners in eateries along the strip of Orchard Road, the government, through the National Environment Agency (NEA), hopes to gradually limit smoking in the city with enforcement officers and officers issuing verbal warnings at least during the first three months of the ban.
Following this leeway period, stricter law enforcement will be implemented starting April 1 of this year.
Furthermore, the NEA will be deploying several surveillance cameras on select areas where there is still questionable activity along the no-smoking zone, based on feedback.
Those who will be caught in giving tobacco to a person below the smoking age limit shall be liable to a minimum fine of SGD 500 for the first offence, and SGD 1,000 for subsequent offences.
Meanwhile, underage smokers caught for this offence are liable to a fine of up to SGD 300.
The public is encouraged to report errant retailers to the Health Sciences Authority’s Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2037 or 6684-2036 during office hours.