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05 Nov 2019

5th Nov 2019

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye,

MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC 

Question No. 3269

To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the number of illegal vape sellers and buyers apprehended in the last three years; (b) how many of these purchases were made online and through physical stores; (c) what have been the actions taken against these offenders; and (d) what more can the Ministry do to deter the purchase and sale of illegal vapes in Singapore.

Answer

     

1        The Ministry of Health (MOH) banned vaporisers to protect the public from the health risks associated with such products. 

2        It is an offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act to sell, possess for sale, import or distribute vaporisers.  Any person who is convicted is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for up to six months or to both for the first offence, and to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or to imprisonment for up to 12 months or to both, for the second or subsequent offence.

3        With effect from 1 February 2018, the use, purchase or possession of vaporisers is also an offence and is punishable with a fine up to $2,000.    

4        From 1 Jan 2017 to 30 Sep 2019, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) handled 219 cases involving the sale of vaporisers, all of which were sold online. From 1 February 2018 to 30 September 2019, 465 people were caught for the possession of vaporisers.  The enforcement actions taken against these offenders depended on the merits of each case, and included prosecution, composition fines or a warning.  The stiffest penalty imposed was $99,000, for a peddler who was charged on 9 Sep 2019 for importing and peddling e-vaporisers. 

5        HSA will continue to work with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and the Singapore Police Force to deter the illegal import, sale and purchase of vaporisers.  Besides enforcement, the Health Promotion Board will continue to educate Singaporeans regarding the harmful effects of vaporisers, and correct any misconception that vaporisers conclusively help with smoking cessation.  At the same time, we will strengthen smoking cessation programmes so that smokers can access proven therapies and methods to help them quit smoking.