Two tobacco retailers lose licences for selling to underage customers

Two tobacco retailers in Woodlands and Toa Payoh had their licences revoked for selling cigarettes to underage customers, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said yesterday.

This means that they will no longer be able to sell tobacco products, the HSA said in a statement.

Retail outlet Fair Inn Food Place, a repeat offender, was found selling cigarettes to an underage person for the second time. Its licence was revoked on Nov 2 last year. The outlet at 806 Woodlands Street 81 first had its licence suspended for six months in January 2016.

The second retailer, Excellence Supermarket at 131 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, had its licence revoked on Dec 19 last year for selling cigarettes to an underage person in school uniform.

The HSA also suspended the retail licences of four outlets after the operators were caught selling to underage customers. It was their first such offence. They are China Minimart at 417 Yishun Avenue 1; Leeds Mart at 509 Serangoon North Avenue 4; Shell Select at 3535 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6; and Good Price Centre at 21 Hougang Street 51.

With the suspension, these outlets will not be able to sell tobacco products for six months.

In the statement, the HSA said it would not hesitate to take action against errant retailers.

Tobacco retail licensees were also reminded to educate their employees on the law on the sale of tobacco products. Sellers should verify the age of those who wish to buy tobacco products by calculating it from the date of birth, said HSA.

The minimum legal age to use, possess or buy tobacco products was raised to 19 years with effect from Jan 1. It will be raised to 20 years from next year and 21 years from 2021.

Anyone caught selling tobacco products to those below the minimum legal age may face a fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.

In addition, their tobacco retail licences will be suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence.

Outlets found selling tobacco products to underage people in school uniform or those below 12 years of age will have their licence revoked even for the first offence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2019, with the headline 'Two tobacco retailers lose licences for selling to underage customers'. Print Edition | Subscribe