Students Caught Vaping Could be Fined Up To $2,000 : HSA


In a bid to combat the rising trend of e-vaporiser (e-cigarette) use in Singapore, government agencies have intensified their enforcement and education efforts. From January to March 2024, over 2,200 individuals have been caught for possession or use of e-vaporisers. This marks a significant increase from previous years, with 7,838 individuals caught in 2023 alone.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has also successfully disrupted several illegal e-vaporiser distribution networks, seizing more than $7 million worth of e-vaporisers and components in the first quarter of 2024. In addition, joint operations conducted by HSA and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) have resulted in 40 e-vaporiser-related cases being detected at the borders, leading to prosecution and enforcement actions.

In the first quarter of the year, approximately 250 cases of vaping offences were reported by schools and institutes of higher learning (IHLs) to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be informed if students are caught vaping outside of school premises.

In October last year, Second Minister for Education, Maliki Osman, stated that 800 students from schools and IHLs were apprehended for vaping in 2022. Prior to 2020, the number of students referred to HSA for vaping violations was less than 50.

With a focus on deterrence among youths, schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have begun referring offenders caught for e-vaporiser offences to HSA, imposing fines of up to $2,000. In addition to penalties from HSA, students caught vaping will face disciplinary consequences such as suspension or caning, and will be placed on cessation support programmes to help them quit.

“For students who are caught vaping, in addition to the penalty imposed by HSA, schools and IHLs will continue to mete out consequences through existing disciplinary frameworks, such as suspension or caning (for boys in schools),” said the HSA in its release.

“Students caught vaping will also be placed on cessation support programmes where counsellors will guide them through their cessation journey” HSA added.

To further reinforce the message against vaping, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and partner agencies have issued a Letter of Notice to social media services and e-commerce platforms, reminding them that hosting vaping-related content is illegal. Platforms found to be in breach of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act may face enforcement actions.

Authorities removed over 3,000 e-vaporiser-related online listings in 2023, marking an increase from the 2,600 listings removed the previous year.

“To strengthen deterrence amongst youths against vaping, from March 2024 onwards, all offenders (including first-time offenders in schools and institutes of higher learning) who are caught for purchase, use and possession offences for e-vaporisers are referred to HSA and subjected to a fine of up to S$2,000,” HSA said on Tuesday in its press release.

HPB has also launched a vape-free campaign aimed at raising awareness of the harms and illegality of vaping, with educational materials integrated into the Parent Hub online resource portal. Public education efforts will be amplified through collaborations with various public agencies to reach a wider audience.

Penalties for e-vaporiser-related offences in Singapore are severe, with fines of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for individuals convicted of importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of e-vaporisers and their components.

Members of the public with information on illegal e-vaporiser activities are encouraged to contact HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch. More information on prohibited tobacco products and the harms of vaping can be found on the HSA website and HealthHub, with support available through the I Quit programme for those looking to quit vaping.

More than $7 million worth of e-vaporisers and components seized : HSA

On 17 January 2024, HSA detected two individuals involved in a peddling transaction at NorthPoint City, leading to the seizure of over 81,000 e-vaporisers and related components worth more than $1.1 million at a warehouse unit in Woodlands Close. Five persons aged 19 to 39 are currently assisting in the investigation in relation to the seizure at Woodlands Close.

On 19 March 2024, a roadblock conducted by SPF resulted in the confiscation of two packages of e-vaporisers from two individuals at St Andrew’s Road. Subsequent raids on warehouse units revealed over 400,000 e-vaporisers and components valued at a record street value of over $6 million. Five persons aged 21 to 37 are currently assisting in the investigation of the large-scale seizure of e-vaporisers. Four individuals aged 22 to 38 were apprehended for attempting to break into the warehouse containing the seized e-vaporisers on 23 and 26 March.

    Rugendran Pillai Bhaskaran, a lorry driver, was jailed for 10 weeks on 8 February 2024 for smuggling over 5,700 e-vaporisers worth $125,900 into Singapore through Tuas Checkpoint. See Hong Jian, a 22-year-old male, received a consolidated jail term of 10 months and a $16,000 fine on 1 February 2024 for the sale of e-vaporisers and components. He was also involved in a previous case in 2023 where over 140,000 e-vaporisers and components worth more than $3 million were seized.

    The individuals involved in the 2023 case, including See Hong Jian, have been convicted and others will be charged in court.

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