$300k worth of e-vaporisers and refill pods seized from 3 smuggling attempts at Tuas Checkpoint

E-vaporiser refill pods that were seized by officers. PHOTO: HSA
E-vaporisers (left) found hidden in a lorry on April 5, 2022, and e-vaporiser refill pods (right) found in another lorry on April 7, 2022. PHOTOS: ICA

SINGAPORE - More than $300,000 worth of electronic vaporisers and related accessories were seized at Tuas Checkpoint earlier this month.

These were hidden in three Malaysia-registered lorries entering Singapore in three separate smuggling attempts, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in a joint statement on Thursday (April 14).

ICA officers at Tuas Checkpoint intercepted a total of 1,200 e-vaporisers and more than 49,000 e-vaporiser refill pods in the lorries on April 5 and 7.

The cases have been referred to HSA for investigations. Five Malaysian men, aged between 21 and 51, are assisting the authorities in their investigations.

E-vaporisers, which simulate smoking, are non-combustible. Each consists of an atomiser, a battery source and a small pod for the "e-liquid" or juice.

They have been banned in Singapore since Feb 1, 2018. Importing such items, including electronic cigarettes, has been illegal since Aug 1, 2016.

On April 5, ICA officers found 1,200 pieces of disposable e-vaporisers in a lorry transporting resin. The e-vaporisers were hidden behind the driver and passenger's seats as well as below the passenger's leg rest.

On April 7, officers found black bags containing 36,270 e-vaporisers refill pods hidden behind the driver and passenger's seats of another lorry. Later that day, another 13,125 refill pods in black trash bags concealed underneath a blanket behind the driver and passenger's seats of a third lorry were discovered.

Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, it is illegal to import, distribute, or sell imitation tobacco products which include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco, and e-vaporisers and their accessories.

Anyone found guilty of selling, importing or distributing e-vaporisers can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both. Repeat offenders can be fined a maximum of $20,000, or imprisoned for 12 months, or both.

Those with information on the illegal importation, distribution or sale of e-vaporisers can submit an online report at www.go.gov.sg/reporttobaccooffences or call HSA's Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037.

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