Orchard Road smoking ban pushed to end of the year to give businesses more time to prepare

Remember that massive smoking ban you were dreading (if you’re a smoker) or awaiting with bated breath (if you’re a non-smoker)? Well, it looks like you’re going to have to wait a little longer. That’s because the government has extended the deadline for the upcoming cigarette ban along the Orchard Road shopping belt until the end of the year.

The ban on smoking — now tentatively scheduled to take effect in some time in December 2018 — will apply to all public places in the Orchard Road precinct, which includes Tanglin Road, Goodwood Park Hotel and Dhoby Ghaut. By that time, the ban will also apply to the 16 “smoking corners” that are currently in use in area restaurants.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) had initially given local restaurants until July 1 to gear themselves for the No Smoking Zone to take effect, but according to the agency, the businesses were not quite ready to quit.

A press release on Thursday said that, even though most local establishments — including the Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) — support the plan to end smoking in the district, they needed more to make suitable preparations for the change. This includes identifying suitable alternative locations for employees and customers to smoke, as well as setting up new designated smoking areas.

According to a brief street poll we conducted this morning, many local smokers aren’t too concerned about the upcoming ban or its delay.

“I don’t care much,” said one commuter. “I only pass through Orchard Road every now and then. I can smoke when I get home.”

The new ban isn’t all about snuffing out the party and laying down the law. ORBA is also planning proactive initiatives to support healthy lifestyle choices for Singaporeans alongside the rollout of the ban, under the Work Great on A Great Street initiative.

Steven Goh, ORBA’s Executive Director, said these weekly events — such as health screenings, workshops, and fitness workouts will be free to the public and will be available for an entire year — which is long enough to make these activities our new habit.

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