Monday, October 22, 2007

Passive Smoking from Home

While it is applauding that the National Environment Agency (NEA) has banned smoking in many public places, it could do more to prevent non-smokers from passive smoking.

Like the majority of Singaporeans, I live in a HDB flat. Every night, my neighbour living one storey below me would light his cigarette up in his balcony. The smoke emanated from his cigarettes would never fail to ascend and enter my unit through the windows. Every night, my family and I would have to bear the unbearable smell of the unhealthy cigarette smoke as my unit is engulfed by it.

While the smoker is having a pleasant time indulging in his activity, my family and I have to suffer from the dreadful effects of passive smoking. What made the fact worst is the reality that we do not choose to be exposed to passive smoking, we are in the place we love most: our home. Daily, I return home after a heavy day at work to rest in my pleasant home. It is indeed unthinkable that the health of my family is being compromised by others’ actions right at the doorsteps of our own home!

Definitely, we have tried to shut our windows, but this solution has placed a burden on us. The question to ask is why should be penalized for others’ inconsiderable actions?

While it is noble that the mission of the National Environment Agency (NEA) is to care for our environment, in my current situation outlined, my environment is no longer healthy. In view of the broad definition of the term ‘environment’ which may seem to be ‘all-encompassing’, I would like to ask what would be the definition of the term ‘environment’ to NEA?

Even if private spaces like homes may not be under the purview of NEA, I believe NEA shall look into the problem of home owners putting up with passive smoking from their neighbours as part of their efforts to prevent non-smokers from passive smoking.

I believe there are dozens of citizens in Singapore facing the same plight as me.

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