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Singapore Extends Smoking Ban to Pubs, Nightclubs

Singapore on Sunday extended its smoking ban to entertainment outlets including pubs, nightclubs and karaoke lounges as part of a campaign to cut tobacco-related diseases.

The ban will apply to an estimated 900 entertainment establishments in the city-state which already has some of the toughest anti-smoking measures in place.

"This latest move to restrict smoking in entertainment outlets is a natural extension of our decades of efforts to free public places in Singapore of tobacco smoke," said Khoo Seow Poh, the National Environment Agency's director general for public health.

In a statement on the NEA website, Khoo said the extension of the smoking ban "not only protects the members of the public but also the people working in entertainment outlets from secondhand tobacco smoke."

Since July 2006, smokers have been barred from lighting up in outdoor eateries and cafes. They could only smoke at designated smoking corners at the premises.

Under the new measures, clubs and pubs are allowed to have designated smoking rooms and can set aside part of their outdoor area for smokers.

Some of Singapore's leading entertainment outlets voiced support for the extension of the smoking ban.

"This is the best opportunity for many smokers to quit. It's a really expensive, bad habit," said Dennis Foo, chief executive of Singapore's largest entertainment complex, St. James Power Station.

"It hurts your health and wealth. Personally, NEA's move might just be the thing that would help me quit for good," he said.

Zouk, one of Singapore's most well-known nightclubs, indicated it would go totally smoke-free.

"There will be no more second-hand smoke for non-smokers and they'll be able to leave the club and not smell like cigarettes," Zouk spokeswoman Tracy Phillips said.

"Hopefully this will encourage more of them to come out and club," she said.

Singapore's smoking ban was first introduced in 1970 and extended throughout the 1990s. Smokers are also banned from lighting up in all air-conditioned buildings and establishments.


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