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Eight Persons Convicted for Illegal Sale of Electronic Vaporisers Online; Total Fines Amount to over $170,000 with One Person Jailed

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has prosecuted 8 persons for selling electronic vaporisers[1] (e-vaporisers) and related components online in Singapore. They were convicted in Court in the period of November 2020 to February 2021, with the total fines amounting to $172,500 (refer to Annex A for the details).

2        The convicted persons were aged between 26 and 41 years. They had purchased the e-vaporisers and related components from overseas suppliers and sold them illegally on various local social media and e-commerce platforms. More than $50,000 worth of e-vaporisers and related components were seized.

HIGHLIGHTS OF SOME CASES

High penalties for repeat offender

3        Akmal Syafiq Bin Marzuki, aged 33 years, was sentenced to 1 week’s imprisonment and a fine of $61,000 on 26 February 2021 for repeated offences relating to importing, advertising as well as offering for sale e-vaporisers and their related components. Akmal Syafiq would  import his stocks from overseas and post images of the prohibited items for sale online. He used four accounts on two online platforms, Instagram and Carousell, to advertise and arrange for the sale of e-vaporisers, components of e-vaporisers and e-liquids with nicotine. His illegal activities online were detected and disrupted by HSA officers.   

Seller’s online business put to quick end by HSA

4        Sarah Davinia Ng See Mun, Emaline, aged 32 years, turned from selling other items on Carousell to selling e-vaporisers to earn higher profits. She had sold e-vaporisers marketed as “Shisha Time Disposable Electronic Hookahs” in several flavours, including menthol, blueberry, grape and strawberry, on Carousell and the mobile messaging platform, WhatsApp. She had obtained her supplies from overseas. Interested buyers would send her messages through Carousell or WhatsApp.

5        Ng had operated this online business illegally with her husband, who had assisted to deliver the products to customers, since February 2019. HSA detected this illegal activity and apprehended her on 11 March 2019, putting a stop to her illegal business within a month. Ng was convicted on 17 December 2020 and fined $11,000. HSA has also issued a warning to Ng’s husband for his role in assisting her in the delivery of the prohibited products to customers.

Fine of $500 for possessing an e-vaporiser

6        HSA has also prosecuted one person, Chia Wen Zhe, aged 25 years, for possession of an e-vaporiser. It is an offence to possess, purchase or use e-vaporisers and their related components.  Chia was sentenced on 28 January 2021 to a fine of $500.

Sale, import and distribution of electronic vaporisers is illegal in Singapore

7        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 not exceeding $10,000, or to an imprisonment term for up to 6 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.

8        From 1 January 2018 to 28 February 2021, HSA has prosecuted 43 persons for selling e-vaporisers and their related components.  The highest fine meted out so far was $99,000 in 2019 for the illegal sale of these prohibited items.  HSA will continue to take strong enforcement actions against those convicted of selling e-vaporisers and their related components.

Possession, purchase and use of e-vaporisers is strictly prohibited

9        Since 1 February 2018, it is also an offence to possess, purchase or use e-vaporisers and their related components.  The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000 per offence. From 1 February 2018 to 28 February 2021, 2,588 people were caught and taken to task for the possession and use of e-vaporisers and their related components. Information pertaining to the prohibition of e-vaporisers in Singapore is available on HSA’s website.

10       The public is strongly advised not to import, purchase, supply and use prohibited tobacco products in Singapore.  Members of the public who have information on the illegal import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of prohibited tobacco products can submit a report conveniently using the online form at www.go.gov.sg/reporttobaccooffences. Alternatively, they can contact HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch at Tel: 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours (9:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday).

HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
SINGAPORE
5 APRIL 2021

Download pdf version here642 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.

Consumer, Tobacco control
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