HSA suspends licences of 8 retailers for selling tobacco to minors

Eight tobacco retailers have had their licences suspended by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for selling tobacco products to minors.
Eight tobacco retailers have had their licences suspended by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for selling tobacco products to minors. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

SINGAPORE - The licences of eight tobacco retailers have been suspended by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

They were caught selling tobacco products to minors under 18 years of age, HSA said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 12).

The eight retailers are Kwang Guan Huat at Toa Payoh Lorong 4, Hui Huat Yew Kai Minimart at Jalan Membina, Vel Murugan Trading at Fajar Road, Kai Soon Supermarket at Hougang Avenue 1, Good Price Centre at Bedok South Road, Happy Family Neighbourhood Budget Minimart at Tampines Street 71 and two 7-Eleven outlets at Pasir Ris Street 21 and Block 131, Marsiling Rise.

One of the outlets - Vel Murugan Trading, has since ceased operations. However, actions will still be taken against the seller, HSA said.

HSA's inspectors found that the majority of errant retailers do not ask for any form of identification to check the buyers' age.

"Retailers take the risk of committing an offence if they assess age by mere physical appearance," the agency said.

The suspension will prohibit the errant retailers from selling tobacco products for six months.

Anyone convicted of selling tobacco products to persons below the age of 18 can be fined up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.

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

However, if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to minors in school uniform or those below 12 years of age, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even at the first offence.

From 2014 to date, 40 tobacco retail licences were suspended and 20 were revoked by HSA.