Teen, 18, arrested after trying to sell e-vaporiser to boy, 13, at Toa Payoh playground

Sarah Koh
The Straits Times
Dec 1, 2023

An 18-year-old teenager has been arrested after he was caught trying to sell an electronic vaporiser to a 13-year-old boy at a playground.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Dec 1 that the suspect was arrested during an operation at a playground in Toa Payoh on Nov 27, after a tip-off was received that the teen had been selling vapes there.

More than 700 e-vaporisers and other related components, with an estimated street value of $15,400, were seized from the 18-year-old’s residence in Toa Payoh.

He is currently assisting with investigations, said HSA.

The HSA warned that it “will not hesitate to take stern enforcement actions against those who conduct illegal activities such as the peddling of prohibited e-vaporisers to the public, especially to youth and students”.

A 36-year-old man who worked at West Mall was fined $13,700 on Nov 23 for selling e-vaporisers and related components to students, it added.

In October, The Straits Times reported that about 800 students were referred to the HSA for vaping offences in 2022 – a sharp increase from 2019 and 2018, when the figures for both years added up to fewer than 50.

Students staying at dormitories of some local universities said that a vaping culture persists, as some residents are reselling vaporisers bought in bulk from dealers, the report stated.

The Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act prohibits the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of imitation tobacco products. These include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco and chewing tobacco such as gutkha, khaini and zarda, as well as e-vaporisers and their accessories.

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. A second or subsequent offence could see a fine of up to $20,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.

It is also an offence to purchase, use and possess such products. The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000 per offence. All prohibited tobacco items will also be seized and confiscated.

Information pertaining to prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is available on the HSA website.

Members of the public who have information on the illegal import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of e-vaporisers can contact HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 during office hours.

The Straits Times

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