Parliament: HDB smoking complaints up nearly sixfold from 2017

SINGAPORE – The number of smoking-related complaints in Housing Board (HDB) areas increased from 216 in 2017 to 1,290 in the first nine months of 2020, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann on Wednesday (Nov 4).

There were 370 instances of such feedback in 2018, and 710 in 2019. Ms Sim added that the authorities were unable to determine whether these cases occurred in common areas or elsewhere.

She was responding to Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) on the amount of feedback related to secondhand smoke in people’s homes.

In early October, Mr Ng had spoken on the issue in the House, calling for a ban on residents smoking near windows or on the balconies of their homes.

Ms Sim said that in 2020, HDB had received about 600 cases of feedback on social disamenities per month from January to March.

She later added that these “disamenities” included cigarette smoke, noise, foul smells, neighbourly disputes and more.

“This increased to about 2,100 cases of feedback per month from April to July 2020, as more people worked or studied from home due to the circuit breaker measures,” she noted.

“From August 2020 onwards, likely due to the return of children to school and more employees to workplaces, the number of feedback per month has fallen to about 1,500.”

In contrast, from 2015 to 2019, HDB received an average of about 3,400 reports or feedback on social disamenities per year – an average of around 280 per month.

Ms Sim said that going forward, the Government intends to track neighbour disputes more closely, with the aim of promoting harmonious living and strengthening community norms.

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