All hawker centres will eventually become smoke-free.
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) Grace Fu said in a written reply in Parliament on Monday (Jan 4) that the move comes to protect diners from second-hand tobacco smoke and create a more pleasant dining environment.
Ms Fu pointed out that as of December 2020, out of a total of 114 hawker centres, 87 are currently smoke free. She added that the MSE has required all hawker centres constructed since 2015 to adhere to such a status.
She also noted that 27 out of the 114 hawker centres have smoking corners, which will eventually be phased out during repairs or redecoration works.
As an incentive, Ms Fu said that hawker centres which are undergoing the Toilet Improvement Programme (TIP) can qualify for increased funding if their smoking corners are rescinded.
She also urged Town Councils to apply for the TIP to upgrade the hawker centre toilets and rescind smoking corners at the same time.
Netizens who commented on the issue online were mixed.
Some worried about “the elderly who had been smoking their whole life, who can’t read English or access fb?”
Others said that whereas previously smokers would congregate at a designated smoking corner, now they would step out and smoke at places convenient to them. /TISG