Raise licence fees for tobacco sellers

A licence to sell tobacco in Singapore costs $400.

This fee is too low, especially when the product being sold is addictive and results in the world's most preventable killer - smoking.

In contrast, the licence for a retail pharmacy, which promotes health, costs $500.

What was the Health Sciences Authority's basis for setting these fees? Did it consider the national policy objective of reducing the smoking rate?

I hope this pricing decision was made using a whole-of-government approach, and took into consideration the intertwined aspects of regulation, control, deterrence, social costs and health promotion pertaining to the scourge of tobacco addiction.

Raising the licence fee for tobacco retailing is food for thought, as we take stock of our progress regarding tobacco control on World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

Lim Teck Koon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline 'Raise licence fees for tobacco sellers'. Print Edition | Subscribe