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Eighteen Persons Convicted for Selling Electronic Vaporisers Online – Total Fines Amount to Over $150,000, One Sentenced to a Long Jail Term

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has prosecuted 18 persons for selling electronic vaporisers[1] (e-vaporisers) and related components in Singapore. They were convicted in Court between April and August 2023, with total fines amounting to $153,000. One convicted person was sentenced to 19 weeks’ imprisonment (refer to Table 1 in the Annex for the details), the longest that has been meted out for the sale of e-vaporisers to-date.

2        The convicted persons were aged between 23 and 40 years old. They had sold the e-vaporisers and components illegally on various local social media and e-commerce platforms (refer to the Annex for photos).

HIGHLIGHTS OF SOME CASES

Offender fined $34,000 for selling e-vaporisers on Instagram

3        Chuah Siang Chun, aged 31 years and working as a Senior Customer Service Officer at a transport company, was caught selling e-vaporisers on Instagram. Chuah had maintained a sales records book to track his transactions and had completed about 30 transactions over a four-month period, profiting close to $3,000.

4        Chuah was sentenced to a total fine of $34,000 for selling and offering for sale e-vaporisers and their related components. 

Offender sentenced to longest imprisonment term to-date for sale of e-vaporisers

5        Pan Shuowei, aged 29 years and unemployed, was caught by HSA officers, following a tip-off. Pan was at a warehouse to collect his parcel, which contained over 1,000 boxes of assorted pods shipped from overseas.

6        Pan was a seller of e-vaporisers and related items, and he had ordered the prohibited items from his friend and suppliers in China. He advertised his items on WeChat using multiple WeChat IDs and his buyers transacted with him via WeChat pay.

7        Pan was sentenced to 19 weeks’ imprisonment. This is the longest jail term imposed to-date for selling and offering for sale e-vaporisers and related components.

Offender fined $20,500 for selling heat-not-burn tobacco products on Facebook

8        Gautaman Senivasan, aged 32 years and a full-time student, was caught selling heat-not-burn tobacco products[2] on Facebook. He was first introduced to these products during a holiday in Switzerland. He realised that such products were available in Malaysia and started to import and supply these products in Singapore.

9        Gautaman was fined $20,500 for the offence.

E-VAPORISERS STRICTLY PROHIBITED IN SINGAPORE

10       HSA would like to remind the public that it is an offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act to sell, possess for sale, import or distribute e-vaporisers and their related components.  Any person who is convicted is liable to a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to 6 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.

11       It is also an offence for anyone to possess, purchase or use e-vaporisers and their related components.  The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000 per offence.

12       From 2018 to 2022, HSA had prosecuted 101 persons for selling e-vaporisers and their related components. The highest fine meted out so far was $99,000 to an individual for the illegal sale of these prohibited items. Information pertaining to prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is available on the HSA website and more details about the harmful effects of e-vaporisers can be found in this HealthHub article.

13       HSA conducts active online surveillance and will continue to take strong enforcement actions against those selling e-vaporisers and related components.  We also work closely with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority to monitor and stop illegal imports of e-vaporisers and related components.

14       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 at Tel: 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours (9:00 am to 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday).

HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
SINGAPORE
29 SEPTEMBER 2023

Download pdf version here  401 KB

[1] Electronic vaporisers refer to battery-operated devices which deliver vaporised nicotine for users to inhale. They come in forms such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes, e-cigars and the like.

[2] Heat-not-burn tobacco products are battery-operated devices that heat tobacco up to a temperature of 350°C. This produces an aerosol containing nicotine and other chemicals, which are inhaled by the user through the mouth and taken into the body. 

Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Tobacco control
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