SINGAPORE: The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has temporarily suspended the tobacco retail licenses of nine shops that were caught selling tobacco products to minors under the age of 18, it said on Wednesday (Apr 12).
In a press release, the authority said the sellers will be prohibited from selling tobacco products for six months. The affected outlets are:
- Everyday Come Coffee Shop at 477 Tampines Street 43
- Mini Mart @ 476 Pte Ltd at 476 Tampines Street 44
- JS Minimart at 950 Jurong West Street 91
- Shafen Supermarket at 424 Bukit Batok West Avenue 2
- Rainbow Mart at 806 Woodlands Street 81
- Kurinji Stores at 350 Bukit Batok Street 34
- Chuan Lee Fruit & Mini-Mart at 835 Tampines Street 83
- Seng Yong Huat Minimart at 919 Hougang Avenue 4
- Sky Blue Trading at 7 Jalan Batu
According to HSA, all nine sellers did not ask for any form of identification to check the buyers’ ages, claiming they were either busy or that the minors looked older than they were.
"Sellers are reminded that they take the risk of contravening the laws if they assess age by mere physical appearance of the buyer," the authority said in the release.
This is the first offence for all nine outlets, who were caught via HSA's ground surveillance and enforcement activities, the authority added.
Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone found guilty of selling tobacco products to minors 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.
In addition, the tobacco retail licence will be suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence.
If the minors are in school uniform or below 12 years old, the licenses of shops that sell tobacco products to them will be revoked, even at the first offence.
HSA said that since 2015, it has suspended 41 tobacco retail licences and revoked eight. Members of the public can view the updated list of tobacco retailers with suspended or revoked licenses on HSA's website.