In the Singapore government’s further efforts to engineer a smoke-free nation, this new social experiment involves caging up smokers through designated smoking points across the Nee Soon district like it’s one giant airport.
Dystopian scenario it may sound like, but it’s true — there are now 42 designated smoking points near coffee shops and HDB blocks across the Nee Soon South estate. Really, they’re just tiny, sad-looking shacks that measure 3m by 3m, with provided ashtrays, dustbins and uncomfortable benches. At least they come with roofs.
— TODAY (@TODAYonline) January 23, 2017
The government is convinced that it’s a “win-win” solution (for everyone but smokers, of course). No longer can residents of the area smoke anywhere in public — they can only light up in the designated shacks.
The project actually started in 2014 with six of these smoke shacks, but non-smoking residents liked it so much that it expanded even further. Private donors — including corporations and individual — helped fund the estimated $500,000 it cost for the project. Folks in Nee Soon South must really hate second-hand smoke that bad.
In terms of effectiveness, however, the impact of smoking corners seem to vary. Smokers will simply get their daily dose of nicotine at home or may even light up wherever they like, as long as they don’t get caught by the authorities.
Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah said that her residents are happy with the initiative; they found that it significantly reduced the amount of second-hand smoke and cigarette butt litter.
If Singapore really wants to be drastic, the government might as well propose a full-fledged tobacco ban for people born after 2015, like what Russia’s considering right now.