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Proposed Smoking Ban in HDB Flats: Prepare for More Erosion of Home-Ownership Rights


ELSON: A chill was raised when Nee Soon MP Louis Ng proposed that people be banned from smoking in HDB flats – what happened to our rights as home-owners?

A different type of chill was raised when Tanjong Pagar MP Joan Pereira opened her gap – how dense can a MP get? Apparently pretty dense.

Her blonde-worthy solution to the issue of smoking at home:

“Windows and doors should be closed when smoking … If smoke is detected outside of the flat, the resident should then be considered to have violated the law.”

But dumb brunette quotes aside, the serious issue here is how much of our rights are we signing away to the government?

The complaint against smoking in flats follow this line of thought:
-cigarette smoke is unpleasant
-2nd-hand smoke may be harmful to health
-smokers should not be allowed to spread their smoke for those reasons

Is that sufficient reason to allow the government to dictate what we can and cannot do in our own flats?

Because if so, we’re headed for a very slippery slope where the only losers are flat-owners.

There’ this curry complaint that from years back that comes to mind, and in the light of Ng’s proposal maybe the government should consider banning the cooking of curry at home too:

-the smell of curry is unpleasant (to some)
-exposure to odours harms health in the form of headaches and nausea
-people should not be allowed to cook curry at home

You see where this is heading.

If we give the government the right to ban smoking in flats, we’re essentially granting them further powers to ban curry parties at home too if there are complaints.

And, we would be giving government officials the power to break into our flats without a warrant to take our curry and charge us for it too.

The next question is – how serious and widespread is the issue of cigarette smoke emanating from HDB flats?

To put things in perspective, only 13 percent of Singapore residents smoke.

There are probably more people who fart in lifts and act blur.

The issue is about home-ownership rights.

The government cannot enforce such a ban in condominiums and landed property because those areas are considered private property.

So why should it be allowed to dictate what HDB home-owners do at home at their own leisure?

The one thing that even Lee Kuan Yew pointed out – Singaporeans are damn tok gong at complaining.

If HDB flat-dwellers support such a ban based on loose justifications about complaints received, be prepared for more erosion of home-ownership rights.

But then again, tenants should just obey the whims of their landlord.





  1. Anonymous

    September 11, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    It is not about eroding HDB owner rights. It is about health. It is already proven that second-hand smoke kills. If it is not made illegal to smoke in HDB flats, the next best thing is for these inconsiderate smokers to keep their toxic smoke to themselves. If they insist on smoking in their HDB flats, at least shut their windows and doors to prevent the smoke from killing others. Isn’t smoke that drifts out of a flat like killer litter? Just that it is a gas.
    I am a victim of unbearable cigarette second-hand killer smoke from a neighbour below my unit. You mean I don’t have rights in my own flat? I have the right to fresh air. Why do I have to close my windows due to someone polluting the air? Solve the problem at the source.

    • raymond lee

      September 14, 2018 at 5:42 pm

      Every HDB homes have gas stove for cooking.should they not also ban the use of gas which is equally bad like cigarette smokes.(should start using induction cookers which does not admit any gases)

      How about units that faces directly the car park where one can smell the exhaust permeating into their kitchen
      and living rooms. These fumes are highly toxic. Are we barking at the wrong tree or ignorant? maybe MOH could clarify on these.?

    • Vt

      September 15, 2018 at 8:44 am

      Maybe the government should start by banning all vehicles in SG as this largely contributes to pollution and is worst than second-hand smoke.

    • Justin

      April 22, 2019 at 11:22 pm

      joss sticks one can let live (just close the windows in the morning because these practices have a set time), seventh month doesn’t take place daily, car exhaust. I have never heard of it entering homes in concentrations. Cigarette smoke brazenly smoked out the windows (because the smoker finds it cooling or is trying to protect their own family members) its inconsiderate and selfish. The government stance is right. If smokers don’t agree, don’t complain the next time there’s haze and lobby to abolish the Transboundary haze act.

  2. Anonymous

    September 17, 2018 at 10:54 am

    We should ban people from burning Joss sticks and miscellaneous garbage during 8th montb as well as it pollutes the environment and adversely affects health.

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