SMOKING TOTALLY NOT ALLOWED
Citing public health priority, govt rejects proposal by restaurant operators
THE government has rejected a suggestion by restaurant operators to designate smoking areas in their premises. Their suggestion followed the gove rn m e nt’s announc ement that all eateries would be declared smoke-free zones from Jan 1.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said his ministry had received the suggestion but could not consider it as public health was a main priority.
He said there were many ways for smokers to overcome their addiction, and the suggestion by restaurant operators was not the way.
He said the ministry would remain consistent in its decision to have more smoke-free areas, which included open-air eateries.
“Previously, the ban was only enforced in air-conditioned restaurants,” he said, adding that smokers and restaurant operators flouting the rule risked action being taken against them.
Dr Lee informed that those who did not adhere to the ruling could face action under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 of the Food Act 1983.
“This ban needs to be implemented soon and hopefully, it will reduce government expenditure on treatments for diseases caused by cigarette smoking,” he said.
The Health Ministry previously announced that all eateries nationwide would be smoke-free zones from Jan 1 onwards, with the directive to be enforced at restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls.
Dr Lee Boon Chye