Six Men Detained by Police for Illegal Trade of Electronic Vaporisers, Leading to Largest Seizure of Electronic Vaporisers and Components to Date

On the night of 28 March 2023, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) received a call for assistance at the multi-storey car park of Blk 592 Montreal Link. Upon arrival, Police detained six individuals, suspected to be involved in the illegal trade of electronic vaporisers (e-vaporisers) at the location. The driver of a van was allegedly found to be distributing parcels containing e-vaporisers to five persons purportedly assisting in the delivery to buyers. Officers from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) were immediately activated to assist in the investigation.

2        A 27-year-old male driver and a 26-year-old man were both arrested by Police for rash or negligent conduct with respect to any machinery in his possession. In addition, the 27-year-old male driver was also arrested for using criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of his duty. Four men aged 22 to 27 years old, are assisting in investigations.   

Largest haul of e-vaporisers to date

3        Following up on leads from the investigation, HSA conducted surveillance of a warehouse unit in Mandai on 29 March 2023 where supplies of e-vaporisers were suspected to be kept for collection by runners. HSA raided the warehouse unit and seized more than 85,000 e-vaporisers and related components. A total of five suspected runners (aged 20 to 33 years old) were detained at the warehouse and are currently assisting HSA in the investigation. This successful operation, which spanned more than 72 hours, disrupted the operations of an illegal e-vaporisers supply chain.

4        This is the largest seizure haul of e-vaporiser products by HSA, surpassing the seizure in 2021, where more than $2.2 million worth of e-vaporisers and related components were seized. Please refer to the Annex in the pdf for photos of the items seized.

Penalties for such offences in Singapore    

5        HSA would like to remind the public that the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act 1993 prohibits the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of imitation tobacco products. These include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco such as Gutkha, Khaini, Zarda, electronic 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, and a fine of up to $20,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months or both for the second or subsequent offence. All prohibited tobacco items will be seized and confiscated.

Consumer advisory

6           The purchase, use and possession of e-vaporisers is prohibited. Information pertaining to prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is available on the HSA website and more details about the harms of e-vaporisers can be found in this HealthHub article.

7             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 (9:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday).

3 APRIL 2023

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Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Tobacco control

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