Our hawker centres are communal places where friends and families gather for meals.
In a bid to reduce 2nd-hand smoke exposure in these areas, the Ministry for Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) plans on gradually banning smoking at all hawker centres.
This will help to protect hawker centre visitors from 2nd-hand smoke so they get to enjoy a more pleasant dining experience.
According to an MSE statement, 87 out of 114 hawker centres in Singapore are already smoke-free, accounting for around 76%. These figures are accurate as of Dec 2020.
The remaining 27 have smoking corners, where smokers are allowed to take a puff.
However, MSE is taking steps to reduce this number.
Since 2015, MSE has reportedly required all hawker centres that are newly-built and renovated to be “smoke-free”.
Additionally, hawkers centres can also receive additional funding for the Toilet Improvement Programme (TIP) if their smoking corners are removed.
The statement was made by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, in response to a Parliamentary Question by Ms Tin Pei Ling.
Our hawker centres are not the only places where there’s an ongoing battle against 2nd-hand smoke.
Last October, Member of Parliament Louis Ng also suggested banning smoking in homes, in particular near windows and on balconies.
Although privacy concerns were raised, it nonetheless show that reducing 2nd-hand smoke exposure is an area of concern that the government is working on.
It is heartening that the government is taking steps to reduce 2nd-hand smoke in common areas like hawker centres.
This will undoubtedly come as an inconvenience for smokers, but we hope they’d be considerate and adhere to the rules so patrons can enjoy a pleasant and smoke-free dining experience.
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Featured image adapted from Facebook.
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