A woman in Bukit Panjang grew so irritated with the second-hand smoke coming into her HDB flat that she went the extra mile to note down each time she smelled her neighbour lit a cigarette to keep track of the extent of the chain smoking, Shin Min Daily News reported.
Two weeks later, the 52-year-old self-employed woman tallied the total number of times her neighbour smoked and discovered it came up to between 12 to 16 times a day — or more than 150 times.
20-year ordeal that got worse
The woman had put up with the second-hand smoke for over 20 years while living on the ninth floor.
The smoke, which originates from the unit downstairs, would waft into her flat at Block 241 Bukit Panjang Ring Road.
When that smoking neighbour moved out, the woman thought she could literally breathe easy, as well as heave a sigh of relief breathing in and out unpolluted air.
However, her new neighbours that moved in turned out to be even heavier smokers.
Smell more extensive
Before these new neighbours moved in, the woman’s kitchen would be filled with the smell of smoke.
These days, the smell would spread to her bedrooms and toilets.
On June 17, when she had it up to here and enough was enough, the woman took action: She started keeping detailed records of when her neighbours smoked.
According to the woman, the corridors are also regularly littered with cigarette butts.
The smell of nicotine, she said, has become even more pungent than before.
Tried closing windows and speaking with neighbour
The woman also claimed that she tried closing her windows, but the heat was unbearable.
To deal with the issue, she tried speaking to the neighbour downstairs on one occasion.
However, she was curtly told that smoking at home is allowed and she can lodge a complaint with the authorities.
The woman also told Shin Min she now weighs 34kg, having lost 4kg to 5kg in two months due to the effects of the second-hand smoke.
She also said both she and her 75-year-old mother would come down with sore throat and stuffy nose due to the smoke.
In response to Shin Min’s queries, the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council said it will work with the National Environmental Agency (NEA), HDB, grassroot organisations, as well as residents to improve the cleanliness of the estate.
The town council also urged residents not to smoke near windows or balconies and spare a thought for others who are non-smokers.
Top photos via Google Maps & Shin Min Daily News