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07 Feb 2020

4th Feb 2020

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Chia Shi-Lu
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC

Question No. 1564

To ask the Minister for Health for the past three years, what has been the number of retail establishments that have been charged with selling cigarettes to customers below the legal age and what are the grounds for successful appeals against such offences.

Written Reply

1    The Minimum Legal Age for the purchase, use, possession, sale and supply of tobacco products (MLA) was raised from 18 to 19 on 1 January 2019, and 19 to 20 years old on 1 January 2020. The MLA will subsequently be raised to 21 years old on 1 January 2021.

2    Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to persons below the minimum legal age is liable, on conviction in Court, to a maximum fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence. In addition, the tobacco retail licence will be suspended for 6 months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence. However, if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to under-aged persons in school uniform or those below 12 years of age, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even at the first offence.

3    From 2017 to 2019, 74 retailers were caught for selling cigarettes to under-aged persons. HSA takes a strong view against such errant retailers and will not hesitate to take prosecution actions against them. For appeals to be considered, the retailer would need to demonstrate that he had reasonable grounds to believe that the person to whom he sold the tobacco product was not an under-aged person, and that he had done his due diligence to ascertain that the buyer was not an under-aged person.

4    We want to remind tobacco retail licensees that they are responsible for all transactions of tobacco products taking place at their outlets, as well as the actions of their employees.

Category: Parliamentary QA