465 people caught with vapes since ban enforced in Feb 2018

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) will continue to work with the police force and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to deter the illegal import, sale and purchase of vaporisers, also known as e-cigarettes or vapes, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin in Parliament yesterday.

This comes as 465 people were caught for the possession of vapes after a blanket ban on the devices came into force in February last year.

HSA also handled 219 cases involving the sale of vaporisers between Jan 1, 2017, and Sept 30 this year, all of which involved online transactions.

Mr Amrin said the penalties for offenders ranged from warnings to fines and prosecution.

The stiffest penalty imposed was a $99,000 fine for a vape peddler charged on Sept 9 this year with importing and selling vapes.

Responding to questions from Mr Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC) on the enforcement actions taken against those who sell and possess vapes, Mr Amrin said the authorities are working with online platforms such as Carousell and Instagram to crack down on vape sellers.

“Besides enforcement, the Health Promotion Board will continue to educate Singaporeans regarding the harmful effects of vaporisers, and correct any misconception that vaporisers conclusively help with smoking cessation,” he said.

“At the same time, we will strengthen smoking cessation programmes so that smokers can access proven therapies and methods to help them quit smoking,” he added.

There is also limited evidence on the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation product, he said.

SMOKING CESSATION

Besides enforcement, the Health Promotion Board will continue to educate Singaporeans regarding the harmful effects of vaporisers, and correct any misconception that vaporisers conclusively help with smoking cessation. At the same time, we will strengthen smoking cessation programmes so that smokers can access proven therapies and methods to help them quit smoking.

MR AMRIN AMIN, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs.

“We will continue to monitor emerging evidence and studies,” said Mr Amrin, adding that if there is robust evidence that any particular product can help smokers completely stop using tobacco or nicotine, the authorities will consider these options.

Cheryl Teh

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