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177 persons were found to be in possession of electronic vaporisers (e-vaporisers) in an inter-agency operation conducted by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at Changi Airport on 20, 23, 27 and 30 December 2023. Of these, 61 were fined for possessing e-vaporisers while 116 passengers declared and disposed of these items, thereby avoiding the penalties. The four-day operation is part of a multi-agency effort to step up enforcement against e-vaporisers in Singapore to prevent vaping from being entrenched locally.

2. The joint operations were conducted to detect and deter any attempts to bring in e-vaporisers via the airport during the peak travel season. During the operations, HSA and ICA officers monitored passengers who arrived at Changi Airport’s four terminals. Pull-up banners and digital screens informing passengers about the prohibition of e-vaporisers in Singapore were displayed at high traffic areas. Passengers were reminded to pass through the Red Channel after baggage collection, to declare their e-vaporisers to the ICA officers. Arriving passengers whose baggage showed anomalies during scanning were subjected to additional checks. Any e-vaporiser found was confiscated and fines were issued on the spot to the passengers who failed to declare them.

3. The operations at the borders are part of an enhanced strategy to enforce against vaping in Singapore. In addition to the joint operations at the airport, a recent enforcement action on 21 December 2023 saw ICA officers at Tuas Checkpoint uncover 25 pieces of e-vaporisers and related components hidden below the driver’s and passenger’s seats of a Singapore-registered car. The subjects and the seized exhibits were referred to HSA.

4. In the coming months, HSA and ICA will also be conducting inter-agency operations at land and sea checkpoints. Besides passengers arriving in Singapore with e-vaporisers, ICA will continue to conduct security checks and work with relevant authorities to detect and deter smuggling attempts to keep Singapore safe.

5. In addition to operations at our borders, enforcement against the possession and use of e-vaporisers has been stepped up in the community. Schools and Institutes of Higher Learning will strengthen detection and enforcement efforts against vaping. Other measures include improving detection and removal of sales and advertisements of e-vaporisers online.

6. In total, 1,656 e-vaporiser related cases were detected in December.

Penalties for the possession, use and purchase of e-vaporisers in Singapore

7. E-vaporisers typically contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance, that can also harm the developing brains of youths. They also contain cancer-causing chemicals and other toxic substances such as metal nanoparticles and particulate matter (PM2.5) that increase the risk of heart and lung diseases. Vaping is also associated with lung injuries, known as e-vaporiser-use associated lung injury. The toxic substances found in the heated aerosol produced by e-vaporisers can harm users and others through second-hand exposure. In addition, there is evidence that e-vaporisers can be a gateway for non-smokers, particularly youths, to start using cigarettes.

8. E-vaporisers are illegal in Singapore. Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, the possession, use or purchase of e-vaporisers carries a maximum fine of $2,000. It is also an offence to import, distribute, sell or offer for sale e-vaporisers and their components. Any person convicted of an offence is liable to a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment of up to six months or both for the first offence, and a fine of up to $20,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months or both for the second or subsequent offence. All prohibited tobacco items will also be seized and confiscated.

9. Information pertaining to prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is available on the HSA website and more details about the harms of vaping can be found here.

10. Members of the public who have information on the illegal possession, use, purchase, import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of e-vaporisers can contact HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch at Tel: 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours (9:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday).

4 JANUARY 2024

Annex A

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