Cigarettes without new duty paid mark illegal from March 1

Starting March 1, cigarettes sold in Singapore without a new Singapore Duty-Paid Cigarette (SDPC) mark will be deemed duty-unpaid, illegal and liable for prosecution.

Cigarettes bearing the new mark, a series of parallel vertical bars and the letters 'SDPC' around each stick, have been sold from Dec 1 last year to give manufacturers and retailers enough time to phase in the new mark, said the Singapore Customs in a media statement.

The Singapore Customs added that the new mark is meant to increase the effectiveness of anti-contraband cigarette operations conducted across the island to curb the selling, buying and possession of contraband, and to help the public differentiate duty paid and unpaid cigarettes.

Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, offenders who deal with duty unpaid goods can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty evaded, jailed for up to six years, or both.