Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This is the thing with the Yellow Tape

In a comment to a previous entry, the Screwy Skeptic asked what was the deal about the ban. I wanted to find out more, and also, due to my training, I am no longer able to give a simple short answer to a question like that.

Therefore, a post.

Pursuant to an amendment of our written laws in relation to the banning of smoking in public places, smoking is now prohibited in indoor eateries such as neighbourhood kopitiams. However, hawker centres without outdoor areas can convert 10 per cent of their indoor seating capacity into smoking corners. So if you have 10 tables, only 1 can be designated. It is arguable if you can pull up additional chairs to that table, but frankly that is in breach of the "10 per cent. SEATING capacity" rule.

For those with outdoor seating areas, up to 20 per cent of the outdoor area can be designated for smokers. So if you have 8 tables, only 1.6 tables can be designated. You can't round it up to 2 because that would exceed 20%. So you have to round it down to 1 table only. I haven't found any regulation requiring that table to be directly exposed to the sun, but there must be something because THEY ALL ARE.

Businesses have to demarcate smoking corners clearly or state clearly if smoking is banned from the outlet, or be fined S$200 for the first offence and S$500 subsequently.

Accordingly, the smaller businesses have used the yellow tape whilst the larger businesses (e.g. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf) have decided to go with spanking new plastic "Smoking" and "No-Smoking" signs. I previously thought the yellow tape industry would benefit from this, but maybe the smaller businesses have decided between themselves to split a single roll of yellow tape (they all look the same what) hence no significant impact on sales. It's definitely the plastic sign makers who are having the last laugh.

Smokers could be fined S$200 each time they flout the law, and up to S$1,000 if they refuse to pay the fine and the matter will be brought to court.

However, those caught smoking can take some comfort (Singapore style) that they can pay their fines hassle-free almost anywhere, anytime within 14 days -- either by cash, cheques, cash cards or at "AXS" machines.

AXS machines are access points and portal connectors to web services, information services, e-applications and wireless applications where the public can also pay their bills as well as fines.

All of the information above is hereby attributed to The Smoker's Club, Inc. (The United Pro Choice). The sarky comments are mine.

My personal prediction of where this is going - by 2010, it will be illegal for a smoker to expel air from his lungs if more than 10% of that air includes nicotine-related compounds. Accordingly, smokers who wish to exhale will only be permitted to blow the smoke up their own asses.

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