• May 21, 2024

Gimme shelter

umbrella photoAuthorities in Singapore are planning to build two smoking shelters on the streets of Orchard as part of a study to find out how effective such structures might be in encouraging smokers to light up away from crowded areas, according to a story by Chan Luo Er, for Channel NewsAsia.

According to a government tender, these shelters will be constructed by the middle of April outside the Far East Plaza and the Orchard Towers.

These two locations were picked from five designated smoking areas in Orchard because they had the highest concentrations of smokers, the authorities said.

While smokers are not penalised if they light up outside such areas, they are required to comply with other laws such as not smoking within five metres of a building’s entrance or a bus stop.

Smokers Channel NewsAsia spoke to said the shelters would have the positive effect of making the smoking zones more visible. The white markings on the ground indicating existing designated smoking areas were too subtle.

The shelters could also reduce littering.

Prof Chia Kee Seng, Dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore, said the initiative was a “good approach”.

“The main thing about a designated smoking area is to prevent second-hand smoke for bystanders,” said Chia. “How you are going to implement it is a question of firstly, being fair to the group of people who are currently smokers. Secondly to be able to do it in a way that is logistically less cumbersome,” he added.

Meanwhile, twin-bin cigarette canisters will be included within the Orchard shelters by August. They will be used as polling boxes for smokers to respond to questions that will be changed on a regular basis.