Six errant retailers who sold cigarettes to customers under the age of 18 had their tobacco retail licences suspended by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for six months.
The HSA said on Wednesday (10 October) that the retailers had failed to ask for any identification to check the buyers’ age. They were caught via its ground surveillance and enforcement activities to deter sale of tobacco products to minors.
The suspensions took effect between July and September 2018 and the retailers will not be able to sell tobacco products until February to April next year.
The retail outlets are
- 7-Eleven outlet at 639 Punggol Drive
- 7-Eleven outlet at 319A Anchorvale Drive
- SM Mart at 38 Teban Gardens Road
- Ibrahim Trading at 411 Commonwealth Avenue West
- Gui Bin Minimart at 296A Bukit Batok Street 22
- Big Retail Supermarkets at 764 Choa Chu Kang North 5
HSA has warned sellers that they run the risk of contravening the laws if they assess age only by the physical appearance of the buyer. It has also reminded those with tobacco retail licences to educate their employees on the law pertaining to the sale of tobacco products.
Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to persons below the age of 18 can be fined up to $5,000 for the first offence and $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.
In addition, the retail licence will be suspended for 6 months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence. Any outlet found selling tobacco products to minors in school uniform or those below 12 years old will have its licence revoked even at the first offence.
Since 2015, 79 tobacco retail licences were suspended and 11 were revoked by HSA.
Anyone caught buying any tobacco product for an under-18 minor can be fined up to $2,500 for the first offence and $5,000 for the second or subsequent offence. Those caught giving tobacco products to minors can also be fined up to $500 for the first offence and up to $1,000 for the second or subsequent offence.
From 2015 to date, 18 individuals have been caught for such offences.
The minimum legal age to use, possess or buy tobacco products will be raised to 19 years with effect from 1 January 2019, 20 years from 1 January 2020 and 21 years from 1 January 2021.
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