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E-cigarette crime rate surges in Singapore

Time: 2024-04-02

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In 2023, Singaporean authorities handled about 8,000 e-cigarette-related crimes last year, a 43% increase from the 5,600 similar crimes recorded in 2022. This n...

According to a report by Singaporean media channelnewsasia on April 2, Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Health, said that Singaporean authorities handled about 8,000 e-cigarette-related crimes last year, a number higher than the 5,600 recorded in 2022. Similar crimes increased by 43%.


 


There were 4,700, 5,000 and 7,900 e-cigarette purchase, use and possession offenses recorded in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.


 


In March 2023, Singaporean authorities raided 85,000 e-cigarette products at a warehouse.


 


In Singapore, the use of e-cigarettes is illegal, and offenders may be fined up to S$2,000 (approximately US$1,478) for possessing, using and purchasing e-cigarettes. Those who import, distribute or sell these products face harsher penalties, including higher fines and possible prison terms.


 


Rahayu Mazen said that the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) received 1,700, 1,500 and 2,070 pieces of feedback on e-cigarettes in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.


 


From 1 December 2023, enforcement officers from Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) have been given the power to take action against people who use or possess e-cigarettes, with cases being handled by the HSA. Cases requiring the issuance of composite notices are handled by the HSA.


 


Asked whether the HSA's enforcement team would be expanded in light of the increase in breaches, the secretary-general said the issue must be viewed from a "multi-pronged perspective", which would include outsourcing enforcement measures to other agencies.


 


“So, what happens is that the agencies actually cross-enforce, which means if an agency takes some of these vaping cases and takes them on, they submit them to the HSA, and then the HSA can issue the necessary composition notices. ”


 


Other ministries, such as the Ministry of Advertising Communications and Information, are studying upstream measures aimed at curbing online product sales. But she noted that authorities needed to figure out the best approach and deploy resources effectively, rather than simply involving all agencies.



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