Ms Sim Ann, adviser to Bukit Timah grassroots organisations and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and National Development, noted that residential smoking has risen across many communities, at the recent launch of two smoking points in Clementi (Smoking points being piloted in Clementi estates, July 1).
Designated smoking points have been in use in Orchard Road and commercial areas.
The points in Orchard Road work because of the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone. Similarly, designated smoking points at office buildings work because smoking is illegal at offices.
In contrast, the use of these two designated smoking points in Clementi residential areas is voluntary, as there are no laws to prohibit smoking in homes.
As long as people can smoke at home without any legal consequence against smoke drifting to neighbouring units, I wonder how many would bother going downstairs 13 times a day (average number of cigarettes a male smoker puffs daily) to take smoke breaks in the hot sun, in the rain and in their pyjamas.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, second-hand smoke starts doing damage from a mere five minutes of exposure by causing arteries to become less flexible.
After 20 minutes to 30 minutes, blood starts clotting, and fat deposits in blood vessels increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
After two hours, an irregular heartbeat can develop, which can trigger serious cardiac problems.
To achieve the desired effect of these designated smoking points – protecting innocent neighbours from noxious second-hand smoke exposure – I propose mandating their use for smokers whose smoke has been known to affect others.
Smokers are free to smoke in their homes as long as no one complains of smoke drift.
But if feedback is lodged against their second-hand smoke, they should be made to smoke at the designated smoking points.