SINGAPORE - Four retail outlets have had their tobacco licences suspended for selling cigarettes to underage consumers between January and March.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in a statement on Tuesday (April 16) that the errant retailers were caught through ground surveillance and enforcement efforts.
The minimum legal age to use, possess and buy tobacco products is now 19.
The suspended outlets are Ajmir Store at 70 Woodlands Avenue 7, 1588 Le at 158B Rivervale Crescent, 7-Eleven at 68 Geylang Bahru, and NH Mart at 620 Hougang Avenue 8.
They will not be allowed to sell tobacco products during the six-month suspension period.
In the statement, HSA said that it takes a stern approach towards errant retailers and will not hesitate to prosecute them.
The authority reminded tobacco retail licensees that they are responsible for all transactions of tobacco products that take place at their outlets.
It added that sellers risk contravening the laws if they assess a buyer's age by his or her physical appearance, and that they should verify the age of the buyer.
The minimum legal age was raised to 19 from Jan 1. It will be raised to 20 from 2020 and 21 from 2021.
A total of 87 tobacco retail licences were suspended from 2015 to March this year, while 13 were revoked.
Anyone caught selling tobacco products to those under the minimum legal age may face a fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for subsequent offences.
In addition, retail outlets will have their licences suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence.
Those caught selling tobacco products to underage buyers in school uniform or those below 12 years of age will have their licences revoked, even at the first offence.
An updated list of errant tobacco retailers is available on the HSA website.
Those who have information on the illegal sale or supply of tobacco products to underage persons may call the HSA's tobacco regulation branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 during office hours.