SINGAPORE: Several retailers, including a 7-Eleven outlet, have had their tobacco retail licences suspended for six months after they were caught selling cigarettes to underage customers, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Tuesday (Apr 16).
The errant retailers were caught via HSA's ground surveillance and enforcement activities.
The 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.
All four outlets were caught selling cigarettes to underage customers for the first time.
“The offences were detected between January and March this year. The affected outlets are not allowed to sell tobacco products during the six-month suspension period,” HSA said.
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HSA said all tobacco retail licensees are reminded to educate their employees on the law pertaining to the sale of tobacco products. Sellers should also verify the age of those who wish to buy tobacco products.
"Sellers take the risk of contravening the laws if they assess age by mere physical appearance of the buyer," it added.
The minimum legal age to use, possess or buy tobacco products has been raised to 19 years with effect from Jan 1, 2019.
This is part of the Government's plan to progressively raise the minimum legal age to 21 years old over a period of three years.
Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to persons below the minimum legal age may be fined up to S$5,000 for the first offence, and up to S$10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.
The outlet’s tobacco retail licence will also 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 underage customers in school uniform or those below 12 years of age, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even at the first offence.
HSA said 87 tobacco retail licences were suspended and 13 were revoked from 2015 to March 2019.