SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has suspended the tobacco retail licences of nine retailers who sold products to those under 18 years old.
All nine sellers did not ask for any form of identification to check the ages of the buyers. They had claimed that they were either busy or that the minors looked older than they were, HSA said in a press release on Wednesday (April 12).
The nine, which were all first-time offenders, will be prohibited from selling tobacco products for six months.
The retailers are:
1. Everyday Come Coffee Shop at 477 Tampines Street 43
2. Mini Mart @ 476 Pte Ltd at 476 Tampines Street 44
3. JS Minimart at 950 Jurong West Street 91
4. Shafen Supermarket at 424 Bukit Batok West Avenue 2
5. Rainbow Mart at 806 Woodlands Street 81
6. Kurinji Stores at 350 Bukit Batok Street 34
7. Chuan Lee Fruit & Mini-Mart at 835 Tampines Street 83
8. Seng Yong Huat Minimart at 919 Hougang Avenue 4
9. Sky Blue Trading at 7 Jalan Batu.
They were caught via HSA's ground surveillance and enforcement activities to deter the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.
"Sellers are reminded that they take the risk of contravening the laws if they assess age by mere physical appearance of the buyer," said HSA.
Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to those below the age of 18 is liable, on conviction in court, to a maximum fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence. They can be fined up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.
In addition, the tobacco retail licence will be suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence.
However, if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to under-18 minors in school uniform or those below 12 years old, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even at the first offence.
Since 2015, 41 tobacco retail licences had been suspended and eight revoked by HSA.