Cig sales to minors: Shop's licence revoked

A shop in Bedok has had its tobacco retail licence revoked after it was found to have repeatedly sold tobacco products to minors.
A shop in Bedok has had its tobacco retail licence revoked after it was found to have repeatedly sold tobacco products to minors.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

A shop in Bedok has had its tobacco retail licence revoked after it was found to have repeatedly sold tobacco products to minors.

Two other shops - a 7-Eleven outlet at 523, Bukit Batok Street 52 and Blu Jaz at 11, Bali Lane - have had their licences suspended by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for six months for the same offence. Both sold tobacco products to those aged under 18 for the first time.

The shop whose licence has been revoked, Bedok Goodwill Store - located at 79, Bedok North Road - had already seen its licence suspended for six months in 2012 for the offence.

Despite that, the outlet continued to sell tobacco products to the underaged, with the most recent case involving three minors in school uniform in two separate incidents on the same day, the HSA said in a press release yesterday .

The seller also took the opportunity to profit from the sales by selling the cigarettes at a higher price than the actual retail price, it added.

The shop's licence was revoked on Dec 10 last year, meaning it is no longer allowed to sell tobacco products, the release said.

The HSA said the three sellers, all employees of the three respective shops, failed to check the ages of the minors before selling them the tobacco products.

They were caught following the HSA's ground surveillance and enforcement activities.

The authority has reminded licensees that they are responsible for all transactions of tobacco products at their outlets, and for the actions of their employ-ees.

Anyone convicted of selling tobacco products to those aged under 18 faces a fine of up to $5,000 on the first offence, and a fine of up to $10,000 for subsequent offences.

In addition, the tobacco retail licence will be suspended for six months for the first offence, and revoked for the second.

However, any outlet found selling tobacco products to anyone aged under 18 in a school uniform, or anyone below 12 years of age, will have its licence revoked, even for the first offence.

Twenty-five licences have been suspended and 22 revoked in the last three years, the HSA said.

A list of these retailers can be found on the HSA's website (www.hsa.gov.sg) under Health Products Regulation.

Anyone with information on the illegal sales of tobacco products to minors can call the Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 during office hours.

Shea Driscoll

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Cig sales to minors: Shop's licence revoked'. Print Edition | Subscribe