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Health Ministry acting to prevent vapes from taking hold in society

We thank Youth Forum writer Hiwase Parth for his letter “Vaping has morphed from a solution to nicotine addiction to becoming a gateway (Oct 30)”.

Electronic vapourisers (e-vapourisers) are not nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. In Singapore, NRT products such as nicotine patches and gums have to undergo stringent evaluation to be registered under the Health Products Act.

There is currently limited evidence that e-vapourisers can aid smoking cessation. To date, there has not been any application to the Health Sciences Authority to register e-vapourisers as therapeutic products for smoking cessation.

The World Health Organisation also does not recognise e-vapourisers as legitimate smoking cessation aids. On the contrary, there is good evidence that e-vapourisers are a gateway for non-smokers, particularly the young, to start smoking cigarettes.

Vaping is harmful to health. E-vapourisers typically contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can harm brain development, especially in teenagers. They also contain cancer-causing chemicals and other toxic substances such as metal nanoparticles and particulate matter (PM2.5) that increase the risk of lung and heart diseases.

The Ministry of Health is therefore taking measures to protect our population and prevent vapes from taking hold in our society.

Vaping is illegal in Singapore, and the importation, distribution, sale, possession, use and purchase of e-vapourisers are banned. Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, someone who is convicted of selling, offering for sale, possessing for sale, importing or distributing e-vapourisers is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for up to six months or to both for the first offence, and to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or to imprisonment for up to 12 months or to both, for the second or subsequent offence.

The Health Promotion Board has rolled out a digital campaign to raise awareness of the negative health effects of vaping and address misconceptions. We also work closely with the Ministry of Education to raise awareness among children and young people of the harms of vaping and encourage them to lead a nicotine-free lifestyle.

Chow Wai Leng (Dr)
Director, Disease Policy and Strategy
Ministry of Health

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