Can I Smoke on My Balcony in Singapore?
Singapore first introduced the smoking (prohibition in certain places) act in 1970. The act which has been enforced by the National Environment Agency serves to protect non-smokers from the risks and danger of inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke.
The areas in which smoking is prohibited include the following:
- hospital compounds
- educational compounds
- bus stops
- public housing parks
- swimming pools
- pedestrian bridges
Smoking is however allowed in designated smoking facilities within the following places:
- food retail shops
- office premises
- university compounds
- Marina Barrage
- residential homes
- private vehicles
- open spaces in residential estates and town centers
Due to these laws, there have been conflicts between non-smokers and smokers particularly regarding smoking in public-private places such as condominiums and HDB apartments. Over the years there have been complaints from non-smoking neighbors and some property owners about whether individuals are allowed to smoke on the balconies of such homes which are close to others.
In 2017, the Government Parliamentary Committee for Sustainability and the Environment, chaired by Louis Ng, called for a ban on smoking on balconies and window spaces. He cited that the ban would go a long way to reduce the harmful effects of second-hand smoke on such neighbors, noting that at least 382 people died due to this in 2016.
Following the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the number of complaints related to smoking increased to 11,400, mainly because more people were working from home. Although the NEA has increased surveillance around areas such as corridors, staircases and decks by deploying thermal cameras, there is yet to be a law which enforces the prohibition of smoking in these areas. Since balconies fall under private property, which are included in the NEA’s list of designated smoking areas, smokers as of 2020, are free to smoke on their private balconies.