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

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