Smokers still puffing at newly prohibited areas

SINGAPORE - A new ban on lighting up in places such as bus stops kicked in on Tuesday - but many smokers seemed none the wiser.

They were seen puffing away in areas where it is now prohibited, including underneath covered walkways and in common corridors of residential buildings.

On Tuesday, The Straits Times tagged along with a group of enforcement officers from the National Environment Agency (NEA). Five smokers were given warnings in the space of an hour after being caught flouting the law in Toa Payoh.

Earlier, reporters spotted another three people puffing away next to a bus stop in Choa Chu Kang. Others were seen lighting up under covered walkways in places such as Bukit Panjang.

"I didn't know about the new bans," self-employed 35-year-old Loh Puay Meng told The Straits Times at a Woodlands void deck.

The new areas have been included as part of an extension of the existing smoking ban, which already covered places such as playgrounds.

Smokers are now also banned from lighting up on overhead pedestrian bridges, in outdoor compounds at hospitals or within 5m of bus stops.

Ms Eileen Yap, an assistant manager at the NEA's central regional office, acknowledged that many members of the public were not yet aware of the new rules.

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