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MSO calls for proposals for sensors, other solutions to address secondhand smoke from neighbouring homes

SINGAPORE: To address the issue of secondhand smoke from neighbouring homes, the Municipal Services Office (MSO) on Friday (Sep 10) called for proposals from enterprises to develop possible solutions.

These should be able to eliminate secondhand smoke at its source or prevent the smoke from entering neighbouring units.

There is also a call for smoke sensor solutions to help residents in resolving disputes.

MSO said the sensors should be able to pinpoint the source of secondhand smoke, record the source, time and duration of each smoking incident, as well as identify the type and intensity of smoke in the claimant's home.

This will help to address challenges aggrieved residents face in engaging their smoking neighbour in dialogue or mediation, the agency added.

Speaking at a workshop for the call for proposals, Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann said secondhand smoke drifting from neighbouring homes is a “complex, long-standing problem” brought to the fore as more people spend time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While smoking in common areas such as HDB corridors, void decks and stairwells is prohibited, the Government is unlikely to ban or restrict smoking within people's homes, she said.

“This is because any such restrictions would be highly intrusive. It would entail the use of investigation and enforcement powers in the private spaces of all households, smokers or not," she added.

“Moreover, there are significant practical challenges to enforcing such restrictions, given current technological limitations. This may lead to the deployment of extensive manpower and resources without achieving effective outcomes.”

MSO is testing more targeted public education efforts, such as the use of joint advisories to encourage people to smoke considerately, if not quit smoking entirely.

It is also reviewing how to strengthen the effectiveness of community mediation, and to make the last resort of filing a case at the Community Dispute Resolution Tribunal more accessible and effective.

Enterprises whose proposals are awarded could receive support for their solutions in a few areas. They include technical mentorship by HDB engineers and architects, access to test-bed facilities at HDB’s Centre of Building Research, test-bed opportunities in HDB estates as well as funding from Enterprise Singapore.

Source: CNA/cc(gs)