Singapore Gets Tough with E-cigarette, HSA Steps Up Penalties

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    The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) of Singapore is escalating its efforts against the surge of electronic vapor products. Amid growing concerns about the advertising, import, and distribution of e-cigarettes, the HSA is actively considering the imposition of tougher legal penalties.

    Ramping Up Enforcement

    Senior Parliamentary Secretary Rahayu Mahzam reported that the HSA is intensifying its monitoring of illegal sales activities across various platforms, including social media and e-commerce channels. With approximately 8,000 e-cigarette-related cases handled in 2023—a significant 43% increase from the previous year—the urgency of the situation is clear.

    Current Penalties and Regulatory Challenges

    Currently, Singapore enforces fines up to SGD 2,000 for the use, possession, and purchase of e-cigarettes. The penalties for importing, distributing, or selling these products are even more severe, including heavy fines and imprisonment. These measures aim to strengthen the global regulatory framework and address the challenges posed by international internet and social media platforms under the Tobacco Act.

    Combatting Harmful Content

    Social media and e-commerce platforms operating in Singapore are mandated to perform due diligence under the Tobacco Act. They are required to actively remove any e-cigarette-related content targeting Singapore residents. Additionally, influential platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have been designated by the Infocomm Media Development Authority to help mitigate the impact of such content.

    Commitment to Public Health

    Singapore’s firm stance against e-cigarettes underscores its commitment to safeguarding public health and preventing the proliferation of harmful substances. With strengthened penalties and vigilant enforcement, the country is determined to curb the growing trend of e-cigarette use and protect its citizens from potential health risks.