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Vaping enforcement in Singapore

Consumer, Tobacco control, General safety
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In recent years, electronic vaporisers, also known as e-cigarettes, e-vaporisers or vapes, have become increasingly popular in Singapore, despite being banned. Many young people are attracted to vaping because they believe it is cool and safe, while advocates argue that it can help smokers quit.

Harms of vaping

E-vaporisers are known to contain harmful chemicals such as fine particulate matter (PM), cancer-causing agents like carbonyls and volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and benzene. 

Additionally, dangerous heavy metals like tin, lead and nickel have also been found in these devices, making them inherently harmful to health. Despite being packaged in colourful and sleek forms with sweet and fruity flavours to mask their health risks, the primary function of e-vaporisers is to dispense nicotine, a highly addictive substance. 

Nicotine consumption can lead to acute side effects such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and in severe cases, sweating, nausea, and diarrhoea. Apart from health risks, nicotine exposure during adolescence can have permanent effects on impulse control, negatively impact the developing brain's ability to learn and focus and lead to mood disorders.

More details about the harms of e-vaporisers can be found here and here on HealthHub.

Multipronged approach 

The Ministry of Health, Health Promotion Board, Health Sciences Authority (HSA), and Ministry of Education adopt a multipronged approach comprising legislation, public education, counselling and enforcement to curb the supply and demand of e-vaporisers, as well as encouraging positive social support from friends and family to tackle youth vaping. 

Students caught using or possessing e-vaporisers will be required to attend cessation programmes arranged by HPB and schools. Recalcitrant offenders may also be referred by the schools to HSA for further action, such as composition fines or prosecution.

HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch administers and enforces the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act (TCASA). From 1 February 2018, the purchase, possession and use of emerging and imitation tobacco products, which include e-vaporisers, have been prohibited. This is in addition to earlier prohibitions on the importation, sale and distribution of these products.

HSA works closely with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority to stem the flow of e-vaporisers smuggled through the checkpoints and via online orders.  

HSA monitors local online retail sites, social media platforms and messaging apps for any suspected peddling of such prohibited products and their refill liquids and cartridges. We also work with related e-commerce sites like Instagram, Facebook, Carousell to shut down such listings promptly upon detection.  

Penalties

Under the Act, any person who is convicted of selling, offering for sale, possessing for sale, importing or distributing e-vaporisers, is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for up to six 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. 

Any person who is convicted of possession, use and purchase of e-vaporisers is liable to a fine not exceeding $2,000.

Enforcement statistics

In 2022, more than 2,600 e-vaporiser related postings were removed from online platforms.

From 2018 to 2022, 860 persons were caught for selling and smuggling e-vaporisers. 145 were prosecuted in the same period.

This table shows the number of people caught for the use and possession of e-vaporisers from 2020 to 2022: 

Year

Number of people caught

2020

1,266

2021

4,697

2022

4,916

 

What to do if you spot someone vaping or selling e-vaporisers

Members of the public 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).

 
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