By now, you would have all known that you would have to be of legal age in order to use, possess, or buy tobacco products.
Previously, the minimum legal age was 18, then it was raised to 19 years in 2019, to 20 years this year, and it will be raised to 21 years from next year onwards.
This means that if you’re 19 years old this year, you will not be allowed to use or be in possession of cigarettes.
While many stores have adhered to this and checked the identities of their customers before handing them their cigarettes, 10 retailers have been found to be selling cigarettes to underage customers.
10 Retailers in S’pore Caught Selling Cigarettes to Underage Customers; Licence Suspended for 6 Months
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) reported that 10 retailers have had their tobacco retail licences suspended for six months after they were found to be selling cigarettes to underage customers.
How did they get caught?
Well, they were discovered through HSA’s ground surveillance and enforcement activities. Walls have eyes and ears, my dear friends.
Which are the retailers that were caught?
- Teo Chuan Hoe & Co at 7 Jalan Bukit Merah
- Ramiyaa S Maarketing at 498A Tampines Street
- Rahmaniya Grocery at 543 Bedok North Street 3
- XinYuYang at 84 Bedok North Street 4
- Wah Chiang Telecommunication at 49 Stirling Road
- 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
- Express Avenue at 58 Marine Terrace
All 10 retailers were caught for the first time and had their licences suspended between August last year and June this year.
In response to this, HSA said, “HSA takes a stern approach towards errant retailers and will not hesitate to take prosecution actions against them. 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.”
Anyone who is caught selling tobacco products to individuals below the minimum legal age can be subjected to a fine of $5,000 if it’s their first offence, and $10,000 if it’s their second or subsequent offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act.
Additionally, the store’s tobacco retail licence will be suspended for six months if it’s the first offence, and it will be revoked if it’s the second.
However, if any store is discovered to have sold tobacco products to underage customers in school uniform or those aged below 12, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked immediately even if it was their first time offending.
Because let’s face it: you can’t say you forget to check the ID of boy in primary school uniform.
From 2015 until now, 102 tobacco retail licences have been suspended, and 16 were revoked.