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A Cleaner, Greener & Healthier Singapore

SINGAPORE : The smoking ban will be extended to all indoor public places and some outdoor places by January 2009.

Some outdoor places, like playgrounds and exercise areas, will be smoke—free next year.

So too will all indoor public areas such as multi—storey and basement car parks, lift lobbies, non air—con shopping centres and shops.

Many have observed that ash trays demarcate a smoking zone. And so come January 2009, an ash tray at the entrance of Bras Basah Complex will probably no longer be there, as the smoking ban has been extended to include a distance of five metres from the property’s entrance or exit.

Sung Jee Tong, chairman, Bras Basah Complex Merchants’ Association, said: “Hopefully, we can change all the dustbins to those that are covered. So people do not have the impression that this is a smoking area.”

With more areas becoming smoke—free, NEA will double the number of enforcement officers from 50 to 120, who will now spend 490 man—hours, a 300—man—hour increase.

But during the initial phase, they are expected to issue more warnings, rather than fines.

Khoo Seow Poh, Director—General Public Health, NEA, said: “In the first few months, people need to adjust to it. We will always be helping them, giving more advice. And if need be, in situations where people do not cooperate, then enforcement has to come in.

“I guess eventually, smokers will have to go to designated smoking areas to smoke. If most of the public areas are covered under the smoking ban, then smokers will have to go to (designated smoking areas) smoke. And there are also wide open areas outside buildings where smokers can actually go to take their puff.”

The smoking ban will also apply to restaurants and bars in the integrated resorts (IRs).

The NEA has not yet indicated if there is a cap to the amount of smoking areas within the gaming halls.

But it said it will be giving its inputs to the IRs on their house rules.

Meanwhile, Resorts World at Sentosa said it is looking at different options in segregating smoking and non—smoking areas within its casino. — CNA”

The smoking ban has just kicked in on the 1st day of this year.

These are the areas where smoking are now banned:

    * Indoor public places. These include non air-conditioned shops, non air-conditioned shopping centers (e.g. neighbourhood shopping centers), non air-conditioned offices, hotel lobbies, markets, multi-storey and basement car parks, ferry terminals, and more .
    * Lift lobbies
    * Entrances and exits to buildings and facilities where smoking is already prohibited. (within 5 metres of the entrances or exits where applicable)
    * Playgrounds and exercise areas

Being a smoker in Singapore right now is no easy task! The one on the list that caught my eye was the no smoking within 5 metres of entrances or exits of buildings. I have this image in my mind, of smokers huddled in the middle of the road divider, so that they meet the 5 metres requirement.

The last rounds when smoking within yellow boxes was implemented, I know some people who quit smoking because of it, as they felt that being a smoker was like being a criminal, with so many restrictions being placed on them. Furthermore, the taxes on cigarettes made it a really expensive past-time.

I expect this time round, with the new bans and with the onset of a recession, more people will choose to quit smoking. A smoker who smokes a pack a day can save over $300 a month if he quits smoking!

And good for them if they do! Apparently in Colarado, where a smoking ban in one of their cities was implemented, it has greatly reduced the number of heart attack hospitalizations within 3 years!

Here’s to a cleaner, greener and healthier Singapore in 2009.

For help in putting out that stub for good, visit the Health Promotion Board’s guide for quitting.

Associated Press:A smoking ban in one Colorado city led to a dramatic drop in heart attack hospitalizations, according to a new study that is considered the best and longest-term research to show such a link.

The rate of hospitalized cases dropped 41 percent three years after the ban of workplace smoking in Pueblo, Colorado, took effect. There was no such drop in two neighboring areas, and researchers believe it’s a clear sign the ban was responsible.

The study suggests that secondhand smoke may be a terrible and under-recognized cause of heart attack deaths in this country, said one of its authors, Terry Pechacek of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least eight earlier studies have linked smoking bans to decreased heart attacks, but none ran as long as three years. Some critics had questioned whether a ban could have such an immediate impact, and suggested other factors could have driven the declines.

The new study looked at heart attack hospitalizations for three years following the July 1, 2003 enactment of Pueblo’s ban, and found declines as great or greater than what was seen in the other research.

“This study is very dramatic,” said Dr. Michael Thun, a researcher with the American Cancer Society.

“This is now the ninth study, so it is clear that smoke-free laws are one of the most effective and cost-effective to reduce heart attacks,” said Thun, who was not involved in the CDC study released Thursday.

Smoking bans are designed not only to cut smoking rates but also to reduce secondhand tobacco smoke. It is a widely recognized cause of lung cancer, but its effect on heart disease can be more immediate. It not only damages the lining of blood vessels, but also increases the kind of blood clotting that leads to heart attacks. Reducing exposure to smoke can quickly cut the risk of clotting, some experts said.

“You remove the final one or two links in the chain” of events leading to a heart attack, Thun said.

Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and about 3,000 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers each year, according to statistics cited by the CDC.

In the new study, researchers reviewed hospital admissions for heart attacks in Pueblo. Patients were classified by post codes. They then looked at the same data for two nearby areas that did not have bans — the area of Pueblo County outside the city and for El Paso County.

In Pueblo, the rate of heart attacks dropped from 257 per 100,000 people before the ban to 152 per 100,000 in the three years afterward. There were no significant changes in the two other areas.

The study assumed declines in the amount of secondhand smoke in Pueblo buildings after the ban, but did not try to measure that. The researchers also did not sort out which heart attack patients were smokers and which were not, so it’s unclear how much of the decline can be attributed to reduced secondhand smoke.

Source: Fox News, 31 Dec 2008

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