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Smoking in your car. Is it allowed in Singapore?

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There have been tons of reports on the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke.

If you don't already know this… secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 substances, some of which are known to cause cancer in humans and animals. It can lead to lung cancer even in adults who do not smoke.

According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), children who are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars are especially vulnerable. This is because cars are small, confined spaces where children are closer to the smoker and the smoke.

While a child's lungs are still developing, they can be easily damaged by exposure to the high level of secondhand smoke in a car. Even if a window is opened or ventilation increased, the child passenger is still not completely protected. This is because secondhand smoke lingers after the smoking stops.

Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of developing a host of health problems. They include: asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, colds and sore throats, ear infections, lung function reduction and sudden infant death syndrome.

In Singapore, it is an offence to smoke in enclosed areas and many other public places. When it comes to vehicles, there are some circumstances in which smoking in them is classified as an offence.

The law and smoking while driving

Under the Smoking Act, smoking is prohibited in omnibuses, private buses, private hire buses, school buses and excursion buses. It is also illegal to smoke in taxis, private car hires during paid chauffeured service, and trishaws.

Fines for breaking smoke-free laws

An individual who is caught smoking in a prohibited place is liable to a fine of $200. If convicted in court, the offender may be liable to a fine of up to $1,000.

Private vehicles and smoking

In Singapore, smoking is allowed in private vehicles as long as no secondhand tobacco smoke is expelled, ie, windows are fully wound up in smoking-prohibited places.

Smoking and littering while driving

In Singapore, littering is an offence. Tossing a cigarette butt out of a car window, whether it is moving or not, can lead to the motorist being fined.

Given the dangers of smoking in cars to passengers, and especially children, one hopes that a driving ban against smoking in all vehicles is instituted sooner rather than later.

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