March 4, 2010 / 10:02 AM / 10 years ago

Clean, green Singapore sticks to chewing gum ban

Singaporeans pose while blowing bubbles in this early January 1992 photograph taken a few days before the city state banned gum. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/Files

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Singapore is often praised for being clean and green, and a government official said on Thursday that was precisely why buying chewing gum would remain illegal in the city state.

“Our effort of creating a clean and green and safe liveable environment has garnered much more international acclaim than criticism of the ban on chewing gum,” Maliki Osman of the Ministry of National Development told parliament.

“The government stands by its decision to ban chewing gum as rational, based on maintaining a clean and comfortable living environment for all Singaporeans to enjoy,” Osman added, responding to a lawmaker’s question about the ban.

Singapore banned the sale of chewing gum in 1992, citing littering — sticking used gum on tables and chairs — as well as vandalism. Passengers reportedly started sticking chewing gum on the door sensors of commuter trains, disrupting services.

Some types of gum, including nicotine chewing gum that helps smokers quit, are available, but with restrictions.

Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan, writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Ron Popeski

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