It is without a doubt that smoking brings about problems not only to the smokers themselves, but also to those who don't.
Access to clean air is a fundamental human right. It is absolutely unfair for non-smokers to suffer in the polluting acts of smokers, who expel dangerous chemicals and carcinogens into the air with every puff of the cigarette.
In countries with a high prevalence of high-rise residential buildings, such as Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong, the threat to this fundamental right is even more pronounced. Residents of such dwellings are tormented by the inconsiderate, selfish acts of smokers who choose to smoke in the common corridors, where winds carry the polluted air into the neighboring homes. The cigarette smoke not only wafts upwards but also travels downwards, forming a sphere impacted area, therefore affecting the homes to the sides, top and bottom of the smoker.
There are a number of reasons why some smokers prefer to light their cigarettes in the corridors, rather than in their own homes. In addition to getting fresher air outside, these smokers know that the cigarette smoke will stink and stain their own homes, and also harm the health of their housemates/family members. It is clear that they know about the consequences of smoking and passive smoking. It is therefore absolutely selfish that they would rather choose to pass on these consequences to their innocent neighbors.
Selfish individuals such as these cause a generalized public hatred towards smokers. “Smokers suck” is a common curse uttered by many non-smokers every day. But do all smokers really deserve being cursed? The answer is no.
As stated earlier, most smokers understand the harmful effects of smoking. They, however, also know that smoking does not normally cause immediate fatal damage to their own health. They disregard kind advice to cease smoking and insist on playing by their luck. “Life is short, play hard” – most smokers believe that they should live their lives with no regrets by enjoying whatever they like. Little do they anticipate the high chances of them contracting terminal diseases due to smoking and end up suffering longer than they have enjoyed. But, to each his own, and therefore one cannot force smokers to quit smoking. As long as smokers keep cigarette smoke within their own personal boundaries, there will not be issues of conflicts with non-smokers.
I often hear of unhappy sentiments from irate, exasperated non-smokers whenever I bring up the topic of corridor smoking. This unkind act on the part of smokers is a common and major issue; one which governments have failed to tackle on. The fault does not totally lie in the governments however, but also on the huge number of victims who fail to speak up.
I have a neighbour who lives with his wife and a young daughter, and this is probably the main reason he chooses to smoke at the corridor very often. His inconsiderate act has been causing health problems to my entire family.
Once, I approached him politely while he was smoking at the corridor in the presence of his wife. He, in an arrogant tone, claimed that there was no law prohibiting smoking at the corridor and that he could not control the wind. He was correct about the lack of law but he was being selfish. I sent an email to REACH, Health Promotional Board (HPB), National Environment Agency (NEA) and my Member of Parliament (MP), and it seemed like my effort was totally wasted.
If robbery is not a crime, does it mean that he can rob the bank? If I could control my fart, I would have exhaled them right at his face everyday since it is not illegal as well, nevertheless, it is not harmful like his cigarette smoke.
After surfing around the internet, I realise my family is not the only one suffering from such indirect attack from smokers.
Quoted from an article by a Singapore resident who is badly troubled by his smoking neighbours at the corridor
Imagine your neighbours coughing and spitting their phlegm right outside your bedroom, which is just a wall and window apart? Well I have been living with that for months!
Since the police do not wish to intervene, I had on my own accord on an occasion in June this year, attempted to persuade my teenage neighbour and his adult friends to smoke at ground level instead.
The next few days I found cigarette butts right outside my unit every other day.
Since then, with remembrance of two incidents which happened 10 and 5 years back when cigarette butts were thrown into my living room during the wee hours, I have no more courage to voice out my displeasure to smokers who continue to harm my family and myself through their second hand smoke.