13 tobacco retailers caught selling to minors: HSA

A tobacco retailer in Serangoon has had its licence revoked for selling cigarettes to a 17-year-old in school uniform, while 12 other retailers had their licences suspended between May and July for selling to minors.

The retailers were caught during the Health Sciences Authority's (HSA) ground surveillance and enforcement activities.

In a statement yesterday, HSA said: "All 13 sellers did not ask for any form of identification to check the buyers' age. They had claimed that they were busy or that the minors looked older than they were."

Sellers risk breaking the law if they assess a buyer's age based on physical appearance, HSA said.

Value Supermart at Block 301, Serangoon Avenue 2, had its licence revoked because the minor was in school uniform.

The tobacco retail licence will be revoked if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to those under 18 who are in school uniform or to those below 12 years of age.

Those caught selling tobacco products to minors are liable to a maximum fine of $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for subsequent offences.

The tobacco retail licence will also be suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence.

From 2015 to date, 53 tobacco retail licences have been suspended and nine revoked by HSA.

Members of the public who have information on the sale of tobacco products to minors can call the Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 during office hours.

Kok Xing Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2017, with the headline '13 tobacco retailers caught selling to minors: HSA'. Print Edition | Subscribe