SINGAPORE: The number of cases involving electronic smoking devices being sold or smuggled into Singapore has fallen sharply this year, according to statistics from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
As of November, the HSA has dealt with about 1,400 cases this year, including those that involve people trying to sell these devices online or smuggle them into Singapore for their own use. This compares with about 15,000 cases handled by the authority between 2014 and 2016 – which works out to an average of 5,000 a year.
The number of peddlers prosecuted for selling such products has also declined. From 2012 to 2016, HSA prosecuted 13 peddlers for the illegal sale of vaporisers. This year, only one peddler has been prosecuted, as of November.
With most peddlers selling vaporisers and their refill liquids and cartridges online as well as on social media platforms, HSA says it has been working with e-commerce sites to monitor and shut down such listings.
It also says the numbers have fallen because of ongoing efforts to clamp down on the sale of electronic smoking devices as well as educate the public that such products are illegal.
Currently, the law prohibits the sale, import and distribution of such products and its components in Singapore.
First-time offenders can be fined up to S$10,000 and jailed for up to six months, while subsequent offenders face double the fine and jail time.
Under the recently amended Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, the use of imitation tobacco products such as e-cigarettes will also be banned. According to the Ministry of Health, this is likely to take place in early 2018.