I know what some of you are thinking: Wait, Orchard smoking ban? Isn’t that old news? I thought you can’t smoke in Orchard anymore? I thought Orchard is now a smoke-free zone? I thought aliens have landed in Yishun?
Here’s my simple advice: please download our app and go in daily, because if you have, you’ll know that it was initially planned to be implemented from 1 July 2018, but was pushed back as businesses around the area needed more time to prepare.
And just so you know, they had one year to prepare.
Guess it’s not easy to draw the yellow boxes after all.
Here’s what you need to know about the ban that’s confirm-plus-chop kicking in from 2019.
What is it?
According to the news release by NEA, it is to “protect the public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.” That kind of makes sense because smokers tend to stick around rubbish bins that are peppered on the sides of the walkway.
Where is the ban?
To some people, “Orchard Road” is anywhere in town though we all know that’s incorrect. To ensure that you stay within the boundary of the law (pun unintended; seriously!), here’s a map.
You’ll realize that it’s not just along Orchard Road, but the minor roads that connect to Orchard Road as well.
Where can smokers smoke then?
As of 22 November, about 40 smoking areas have been set up, and these areas would keep the main Orchard Road free of smoke.
The “yellow boxes” would be about 100m and 200m apart.
To educate smokers on the locations, there would be brochures in places that sell cigarettes, and posters that list down the locations will be shown on lamp posts, bins, MRT station and some bus stops.
What’s the exact location of the smoking points?
Here are the exact locations (bet smokers who work in the area are hoping that their workplace is one of them):
- Behind Somerset MRT Station
- Cathay Cineleisure Orchard (2)
- Concorde Hotel and Shopping Mall (2)
- Cuppage Terrace
- DFS Galleria
- Far East Plaza
- Far East Shopping Centre
- Forum The Shopping Mall
- Four Seasons Hotel (2)
- Goodwood Park Hotel (3)
- Grand Hyatt Singapore
- Hilton Singapore
- Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road (2)
- Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre (2)
- Ming Arcade
- Ngee Ann City(2)
- Orchard Rendezvous Hotel (2)
- Orchard Towers (2)
- Plaza Singapura
- Shaw House
- Tang Plaza
- Tanglin Mall
- Tanglin Place
- Tanglin Shopping Centre
- The Centrepoint
- The Heeren
- The Paragon
- The Quincy Hotel
- The Regent Singapore (2)
- Wheelock Place
- York Hotel (2)
The brackets indicate that there are two or three smoking points in that area.
Of course, it’s not that you can smoke in these buildings lah (what were you thinking?!). It’s just that the smoking points are near these buildings.
Come to think of it, it’s not that bad after all, right?
When is it taking place?
As mentioned, the ban would start from 1 January 2019. Lest you’ve forgotten, the initial plan was for it to be implemented on 1 July 2018, but that was postponed as stakeholders in business and food establishments in Orchard Road requested for more time to prepare.
How about tourists?
Publicity materials would be displayed in Changi Airport and other tourist attractions so that tourists won’t gong gong light up in Orchard Road. But seriously, if they’re tourists, they would most likely go, “Wait, I thought it’s just chewing gums? Singapore is indeed strict!”
What if you’re caught?
Earlier this year, NEA has mentioned that anyone caught smoking in Orchard Road would receive a verbal warning in the first three months of implementation.
This would still stand with the new date of implementation: having said that, for the first three months (i.e. January to 31 March 2019), first-time offender would just receive a verbal warning.
And as for repeat offender during the “P-plate period”? Well, no chance: you’ll be fined up to $1,000.
Also, from 1 April 2019 onwards, don’t cry April’s Fool when you receive a fine because that’s when NEA officers won’t “pang chance” anymore.
No More Extension
Well, it seems like there’ll be no more extension: NEA has also just put up a notice on its Facebook Page:
So get ready, because news of NEA officers on the ball has been pretty regular recently.
Singapore’s Stand on Smoking & NEA’s Recent News
If you’ve still not downloaded our app, then you might have missed all the exciting news about how NEA officers have been catching people smoking in no-smoking zone.
From staircase landing to HDB corridor, these officers have magically appeared everywhere, as if they can smell smoke from kilometres away and beam to your location like those high-tech transporters in Star Trek.
And speaking of high-tech, they’re even considering thermal cameras with face detection to catch illegal smokers.
So the moral of the story is simple: don’t pray pray in Orchard Road. Just look for yellow boxes like what you’ve always done in NS and you’ll be fine…if not you’ll be fined.
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