Ban on smokeless cigarettes kicks in

Smokeless cigarettes have officially been banned island-wide.

The ban, which comes into effect today, covers emerging tobacco products "currently not available in Singapore", said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement yesterday.

Other products that were also banned include dissolvable tobacco and products containing tobacco or nicotine that may be applied topically, injected or implanted in the body.

It will also include any tobacco or nicotine-containing substances meant to be used in e-cigarettes.

The ban was first announced in June this year and is part of MOH's "ongoing efforts to protect the public against the known and potential harms of emerging tobacco products".

These products join e-cigarettes, which have already been banned under the Tobacco Act.

The new ban is to "ensure that they do not gain a foothold or become entrenched in the Singapore market, which could stimulate demand for and increase the prevalence of tobacco consumption", said MOH.

The ban that comes into effect today is part of a two-phase effort to bar such products from taking root in Singapore.

The second phase of the ban, which covers products already in the local market, will kick in from August next year.

The products that will be banned include nasal and oral snuff, which are smokeless forms of tobacco that are inhaled and chewed respectively; gutkha, which is a mix of tobacco, betel nut and catechu (herb) with lime, menthol, sandal oil, spice and flavourings; and khaini and zarda, which are flavoured chewing tobaccos.

MOH said this approach will give retailers time to "adjust their operating models away from such products, and deplete their existing stocks".

Smokers who flout the ban can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to six months or both. The maximum penalties will double if they are convicted for a second time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2015, with the headline 'Ban on smokeless cigarettes kicks in'. Print Edition | Subscribe