SINGAPORE – A 36-year-old man has been nabbed for allegedly selling prohibited electronic vaporisers (e-vaporisers) to students, and is currently assisting the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in investigations.
In a statement on Tuesday, the HSA said it had acted on a tip-off that a retail outlet in a neighbourhood shopping mall had been selling the items to students, and carried out in-depth surveillance and intelligence gathering.
It then conducted an operation at a retail outlet in West Mall and a residence in Tampines, and caught the man.
More than 400 e-vaporisers and 350 related components, with an estimated street value of $11,000, were also seized from the two locations.
In its statement, the HSA warned that it “will not hesitate to take stern enforcement actions on those who conduct illegal activities such as the peddling of prohibited e-vaporisers to the general public, especially to youth and students”.
Last week, the HSA revealed figures that indicated a rise in vaping, with the number of people caught using and possessing e-cigarettes in 2022 almost four times that of 2020.
In 2022, 4,916 people were caught for the offence – which comes with a fine not exceeding $2,000 – compared with 1,266 in 2020 and 4,697 in 2021.
The Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act prohibits the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of imitation tobacco products. These include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco and chewing tobacco such as gutkha, khaini and zarda, as well as e-vaporisers and their accessories.
Any person convicted of an offence is liable to a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment of up to six months or both for the first offence. A second or subsequent offence could see a fine of up to $20,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months or both.
It is also an offence to purchase, use and possess such products. The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000 per offence. All prohibited tobacco items will also be seized and confiscated.
Information pertaining to prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is available on the HSA website.
Members of the public who have information on the illegal import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of e-vaporisers can contact HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 during office hours.