Minimum legal age for smoking in Singapore to be raised to 19 from 1 January 2019

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
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Getty Images

The minimum legal age (MLA) for the purchase, use, possession, sale and supply of tobacco products will be raised from 18 to 19 years old from 1 January 2019, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Friday (28 December).

The MLA will be raised to 20 years on 1 January 2020 and to 21 years old on 1 January 2021.

Raising the MLA is part of MOH’s efforts to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Singapore and to prevent youth from picking up the habit by curbing access to tobacco products.

Changes to the MLA as part of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed in Parliament on 7 November 2017. The tobacco industry – including retailers, importers and wholesalers – was informed of the changes from January 2018.

Retailers who sell any tobacco products to a person below the MLA may face a maximum fine of $5,000 for the first offence and $10,000 for subsequent offences. The tobacco retail licence will be suspended for the first offence and revoked for subsequent offences.

Persons caught buying or acquiring tobacco for a person below the MLA may face a maximum fine of $2,500 for the first offence and $5,000 for subsequent offences.

Persons caught giving tobacco to an underage person could be fined up $500 for the first offence and $1,000 for subsequent offences.

Underage smokers who are caught for using, buying or having in their possession tobacco products may be fined up to $300.

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