One retailer's licence revoked, five others' suspended for selling cigarettes to minors: HSA

Clockwise from top left: Eng Lee & Co, Hla Lay New, Kee Guan Huat Supermarket, Mohamed Buhari Trading, 7-Eleven at Simei MRT Station and Sathya Mini Mart.
Clockwise from top left: Eng Lee & Co, Hla Lay New, Kee Guan Huat Supermarket, Mohamed Buhari Trading, 7-Eleven at Simei MRT Station and Sathya Mini Mart.PHOTO: HSA

SINGAPORE - A retail outlet's tobacco licence was revoked, and those of five others were suspended for six months, after the stores were caught selling cigarettes to minors.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Thursday morning (July 12) that it has revoked the licence of Mohamed Buhari Trading at 103 Teck Whye Lane. The shop sold cigarettes to a 17-year-old wearing a school uniform.

The other five retail outlets were first-time offenders, and were also caught selling cigarettes to patrons under 18.

These outlets are a 7-Eleven store at 30 Simei Street 3, Eng Lee & Co at 57 Lengkok Bahru, Hla Lay New at 303 Jurong East Street 32, Kee Guan Huat Supermarket at Block 308 Clementi Avenue 4, and Sathya Mini Mart at 242 Serangoon Avenue 3.

The HSA said an employee of one of these retailers sold cigarettes to a minor who was only 13 years old. The staff member said she did not request to see identification as she had been unwell.

Other retailers claimed they had not asked for identification because they had been busy or because the buyers had looked older than their age.

The HSA said sellers risk contravening laws if they assess age by "mere physical appearance".

Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to those under 18 can be fined up to $5,000, in addition to having their tobacco retail licences suspended for six months.

For subsequent offences, retailers can be fined up to $10,000 and repeat offenders will have their licences revoked.

Those found selling tobacco products to minors wearing a school uniform or to those below 12 years of age will have their licence revoked immediately.

Since 2015, the HSA has suspended 73 tobacco retail licences and revoked 11.

"HSA takes a stern approach towards errant retailers and will not hesitate to take prosecution actions against them," the agency said.