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HSA suspends licences of 8 errant tobacco retailers

These errant tobacco retailers were caught via HSA’s ground surveillance and enforcement activities. 

SINGAPORE: Eight tobacco retailers have had their licences suspended by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for selling tobacco products to minors under the age of 18.

These retailers were caught via HSA’s ground surveillance and enforcement activities, it said in a press release on Thursday (Jan 12).

The outlets are Kwang Guan Huat at Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, Hui Huat Yew Kai Minimart at Jalan Membina, Vel Murugan Trading at Fajar Road, Kai Soon Supermarket at Hougang Avenue 1, Good Price Centre at Bedok South Road, Happy Family Neighbourhood Budget Minimart at Tampines Street 71 and two 7-Eleven outlets located at Pasir Ris Street 21 and Marsiling Rise respectively. The errant retailers will be barred from selling tobacco products for six months.

Although one of the outlets, Vel Murugan Trading, has since ceased operations, action will still be taken against the seller, HSA added.

HSA also said its inspectors observed that the majority of errant retailers do not ask for any form of identification to check the buyers’ age. Retailers take the risk of committing an offence if they assess age by mere physical appearance, it stated.

Anyone caught selling tobacco products to people below the age of 18 is liable to a maximum fine of up to S$5,000 for the first offence and up to S$10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.

The tobacco retail licence will also be suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence, HSA said. However, if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to under-18 minors in school uniform or those below 12 years of age, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even at the first offence.

From 2014 to date, 40 tobacco retail licences were suspended and 20 were revoked by HSA.