Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on on Secondhand Smoke by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
#### Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Secondhand Smoke
*2191. Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) what are the avenues available to residents who wish to seek alleviation from second-hand cigarette smoke coming from their neighbours; (b) whether the Community Dispute Resolution Tribunal has been effective in resolving such related disputes; and (c) whether there are other new efforts the Government is looking into.
To assist residents affected by second-hand cigarette smoke arising from neighbours smoking in their homes, agencies receiving the feedback will first issue a Joint Advisory on Smoking in Homes to residential units reported to be emitting second-hand smoke. The Joint Advisory informs residents that their neighbours have been affected by second-hand smoke and urges smokers to be more considerate to their neighbours in where they smoke. Under the Community Dispute Management Framework (CDMF), residents can seek help from community leaders or the Community Mediation Centre for mediation to resolve the issue amicably. Should disputes remain unresolved, they can file a claim with the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal (CDRT) as a last resort.
Between January 2019 and November 2021, 50 claims relating to excessive smoke, such as cigarette smoke, were filed with the CDRT. Of these claims, 41 were resolved amicably as of 30 November 2021, that is, they were withdrawn, discontinued, or granted consent orders. The CDRT made an order in 13 of these cases.
The Government is also actively looking out for new potential solutions. The Municipal Services Office (MSO), with the support of HDB, had earlier called for and is currently evaluating proposals from enterprises for innovative solutions to address second-hand tobacco smoke from neighbouring homes.
This complements the ongoing broader efforts by an inter-agency committee to review the CDMF to better promote neighbourliness and minimise disputes.
The issue of second-hand tobacco smoke wafting from neighbouring homes can be avoided if smokers are more considerate and stop smoking at home or quit smoking altogether. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) has developed print and online resources to raise awareness on second-hand tobacco smoke and its harmful health effects, and encourage smokers to quit smoking. Smokers who are looking for support to quit can join HPB's I Quit programme, which offers smokers a range of smoking cessation interventions ranging from phone counselling and face-to-face counselling, to support via text messages.