SINGAPORE: On 20 January, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) made an announcement regarding the apprehension of an individual engaged in the illicit sale of e-vaporizers to students at a retail establishment situated in West Mall.
Acting on a tip-off, HSA conducted a raid resulting in the confiscation of more than 400 e-vaporizers and 350 components from the suspect’s workplace within the mall and his residence.
Subsequently, the e-vaporizer peddler, identified as 36-year-old Marcus Chen Jun Ming, faced a substantial fine of S$13,700 (US$10,210) on Thursday (23 Nov).
Notably, the retail outlet implicated in this incident was identified as Harvey Norman.
As reported by CNA, Marcus Chen Jun Ming, during questioning, acknowledged generating approximately S$10,000 (US$7,453) in sales from peddling e-vaporizers.
His arrest on 20 January was a result of the discovery of 75 boxes, each containing three pods and 110 vapes at the store.
Some of the items were discreetly stored in his locker.
Later that day, in a raid at his residence in Tampines around 8:00 pm, HSA uncovered an additional 251 boxes of pods and 409 vapes.
Mr Chen admitted ownership of all the confiscated items, asserting that some were intended for personal use.
Notably, the Harvey Norman outlet served as his primary operational hub, where he targeted student customers.
The severity of the fine imposed underlines the gravity of the offence and the authorities’ commitment to curbing the illegal distribution of e-vaporizers, particularly to underage individuals.
Singapore strict penalties for imitation tobacco offenses, including fines up to S$10,000 and potential imprisonment
According to the HSA), individuals convicted for the first time of offences related to importing, distributing, selling, or offering to sell imitation tobacco products may be fined up to S$10,000 (US$7,453).
The scope of imitation tobacco products encompasses not only e-vaporizers but also shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and chewing tobacco variants like Gutkha, Khaini, and Zarda.
The penalties for such offences extend beyond monetary fines.
First-time offenders may also face imprisonment for a duration of up to six months, with or without an accompanying fine.
Repeat offenders, on the other hand, are subject to more severe consequences, including a fine of up to S$20,000 (US$14,911), imprisonment for a maximum of 12 months, or a combination of both penalties.
Furthermore, individuals found guilty of purchasing, using, or possessing the aforementioned prohibited tobacco products may be liable for fines reaching up to S$2,000 (US$1,492).
As part of its stringent measures, HSA is empowered to seize and confiscate all prohibited tobacco items to enforce compliance with the regulatory framework.
MacPherson Youth Network takes action with ‘Drop It, Stop It!’ anti-vape campaign to tackle rising vaping rates among students
The MacPherson Youth Network has recently launched the “Drop It, Stop It!” anti-vape campaign in collaboration with Bilby Community Development, with a specific focus on individuals aged 12 to 30.
This initiative, scheduled to continue until 2 January 2024, encourages participants to surrender their vape devices at MacPherson Community Club while participating in an informative quiz.
To sweeten the deal, each participant will be rewarded with a S$30 (US$22.4) voucher as an incentive for their involvement.
The campaign received its official inauguration at the MacPherson Community Club on Saturday (18 Nov) with MacPherson Member-of-Parliament Tin Pei Ling leading the ceremony.
As reported by The Straits Times, Ms Tin highlighted the support of partnering authorities, including the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and Health Promotion Board (HPB).
These entities have committed to waiving the usual penalties imposed on youths for possessing vape devices, provided that they willingly surrender them through this program.
In Singapore, the possession, use, or purchase of vape devices can result in fines of up to S$2,000 (US$1,492) per offense.
The MacPherson anti-vape campaign specifically aims to address the growing prevalence of vaping among students.
The MacPherson Youth Network, in a Facebook post, underscored their objective of engaging 50 youths or collecting 50 vape devices by the campaign’s conclusion.health sc
This initiative represents a proactive approach to curbing the rise of vaping among the targeted age group while fostering community involvement and awareness.
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