SINGAPORE: Ten retailers 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 Friday (Jul 24).
The errant retailers were caught via HSA's ground surveillance and enforcement activities.
The outlets include: Teo Chuan Hoe & Co at 7 Jalan Bukit Merah, Ramiyaa S Maarketing at 498A Tampines Street 45, Rahmaniya Grocery at 543 Bedok North Street 3, XinYuYang at 84 Bedok North Street 4 and Wah Chiang Telecommunication at 49 Stirling Road.
They also include: Fortune at 731 Yishun Street 72, Eng Seng Coffee Stall at 221B Boon Lay Place, Tawfiqa Trading at 932B Hougang Avenue 9, Guru Brothers Trading and Supermart at 423 Hougang Avenue 6 and Express Avenue at 58 Marine Terrace.
All 10 outlets were caught selling cigarettes to underage customers for the first time.
Their licences were suspended between August last year and June this year.
"HSA takes a stern approach towards errant retailers and will not hesitate to take prosecution actions against them," said the agency.
"Tobacco retail licensees are reminded that they are responsible for all transactions of tobacco products taking place at their outlets, as well as the actions of their employees. 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 was raised to 20 years on Jan 1 this year, and will be raised again to 21 years from next year. The minimum age for tobacco products last year was 19 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.
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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 102 tobacco retail licences were suspended and 16 were revoked between 2015 and June this year.