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Overview of tobacco control

Understand the regulations controlling tobacco products in Singapore.

Regulatory overview

Tobacco products in Singapore are controlled under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, which aims to reduce the prevalence of smoking.

Key tobacco control laws

Licence required for dealing with tobacco products

Licence required for dealing with tobacco products

A valid tobacco licence is required before you can import, wholesale, distribute or retail any tobacco product in Singapore. Refer to our guide on how you can apply for the following licences electronically:

Standardised Packaging for tobacco products

From 1 July 2020, all tobacco products* imported, sold, offered for sale or distributed in Singapore will be required to comply with standardised packaging (SP) specifications (i.e. be SP-compliant).  Details of the SP specifications can be found in the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Appearance, Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2019 at https://sso.agc.gov.sg.

To help manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers adjust to the full implementation, a 3-month transition period from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 will be provided to allow SP-compliant tobacco products to co-exist in the market with existing non-SP-compliant tobacco products.  During the transition period, non-SP-compliant tobacco products are still required to comply with the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) Regulations 2012.

Breach of this requirement is punishable with a fine not exceeding $10,000, imprisonment for a term of up to 6 months or both for first-time offenders.  Those with a prior qualifying conviction will face heavier penalties.

General guidance on what SP will look like on different types of tobacco products and packaging formats can be found in the SP Guidance Booklet.  You may download the booklet by clicking here or by scanning the QR code.

QR for SP booklet 

For travellers bringing in tobacco products for personal consumption (at checkpoints)

From 1 July 2020, travellers bringing in tobacco products* at the checkpoints must ensure that:

a) Total weight of all the tobacco products* imported does not exceed 400 g;

b) The tobacco products* are for personal use only, and not for sale or supply in Singapore; and

c) The retail packing of the tobacco products* must:

     i) Have no tobacco-related logo or branding;

    ii) Have a graphic health warning; and

   iii) Be drab brown in colour.

For importers bringing in tobacco products for personal consumption (via Parcel Post)

From 1 July 2020, all tobacco products* imported into Singapore by Singapore Post must comply with Singapore’s SP specifications.  Non-SP-compliant tobacco products cannot be imported into Singapore and will be returned to country of origin. 

* Please take note that this excludes harmful and imitation products like chewing tobacco, electronic vaporisers etc.  See below for more information on the prohibition of harmful and imitation tobacco products.

Prohibition on the supply of tobacco to persons below the Minimum Legal Age (MLA)

Prohibition on the supply of tobacco to persons below the Minimum Legal Age (MLA)

Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to persons below the MLA is liable, on conviction in Court, to a maximum fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence, and up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offences.

In addition, the retail outlet's tobacco retail licence will be suspended for 6 months for the first offence, and revoked for the second offence. However, if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to minors in school uniform, or those below 12 years of age, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even at the first offence.

Buying or acquiring for, and giving or furnishing tobacco products to persons below the MLA, is also prohibited.

Display of warning notice

Display of warning notice

All licensed tobacco retailers must ensure that the permitted warning notice is prominently displayed in the retail outlet. The permitted notice states that the sale of any tobacco product to a person below the MLA is prohibited by law.

2020

You may contact Tobacco Regulation Branch to obtain a hard copy of the warning notice through our feedback portal, or call 6684 2031 or 6684 2032 during office hours (9.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday).

Tobacco point-of-sale (POS) display ban

Tobacco point-of-sale (POS) display ban

All licensed tobacco retail outlets cannot display tobacco products. Retailers may refer to the ban on display of tobacco products regulations, or the POS display ban booklet for compliance.

Advertisements and promotions

Advertisements and promotions

Any advertisements and promotions relating to tobacco products and imitation tobacco products are prohibited under the law. You cannot:

  • Publish any advertisements relating to tobacco products and imitation tobacco products.
  • Give away tobacco products as free gifts, free samples or prizes. You also cannot sell tobacco products with other products given as free gifts, or in conjunction with any other goods or services.
  • Conduct a shopper loyalty programme that involves tobacco products.

Health warnings and labelling

Health warnings and labelling

All tobacco products must carry the mandatory health warning labels. Tobacco importers, wholesalers and retailers may refer to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Appearance, Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2019 for compliance.

Only these six graphic health warning labels can be used:

     HWL2020_1

     HWL2020_2

     HWL2020_3

     HWL2020_4

     HWL2020_5

    HWL2020_6

For high resolution photos, tobacco import/wholesale licensees are to write in to hsa_trb@hsa.gov.sg

The import, distribution, sale and offer for sale of tobacco products with any false or misleading information on the tobacco packaging such as "light" or "mild" is also prohibited.

Prohibition of harmful and imitation tobacco products

Prohibition of harmful and imitation tobacco products

You cannot bring in or sell the tobacco products listed below. You are also not allowed to buy, use or have them in your possession:

  • Smokeless cigars, smokeless cigarillos or smokeless cigarettes.
  • Cigarettes that contain nicotine and tar above the yield limit of 1.0mg and 10.0mg respectively.
  • Imitation tobacco products such as electronic vaporisers
    • Electronic vaporisers are not allowed to be brought in for smoking cessation purposes as there is no evidence that such products assist in smoking cessation. Legitimate smoking cessation aids such as nicotine patches are available at pharmacies across Singapore.
    • Refer to the latest press release392 KB on actions taken upon peddlers of electronic vaporisers.
    • Watch a video on how HSA dealt with e-vaporiser peddlers.
  • Loose leaf chewing tobacco.
  • Plug chewing tobacco.
  • Twist chewing tobacco.
  • Tobacco bits intended for chewing.
  • Shisha molasses/tobacco.
  • Dissolvable tobacco or nicotine.
  • Any product containing nicotine or tobacco that may be used topically for application, by implant or injected into any parts of the body.
  • Any solution or substance, of which tobacco or nicotine is a constituent, that is intended to be used with an electronic nicotine delivery system or a vaporiser.
  • Nasal snuff.
  • Oral snuff, such as Gutkha, Khaini or Zarda etc.

Refer to Singapore's Ministry of Health website for more information on imitation tobacco products such as electronic vaporisers and heat-not-burn tobacco products.

Cigarette pack with less than 20 sticks

Cigarette pack with less than 20 sticks

You cannot import, distribute, sell or offer for sale cigarette packs that contain less than 20 sticks.

Prohibition on the use of tobacco by persons below the MLA

Prohibition on the use of tobacco by persons below the MLA

You cannot buy, use or have in your possession tobacco products if you are below the MLA.

Impact of tobacco on health

The negative effect of tobacco on our health has been well-documented. Tobacco use has been linked to diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.

  • Tobacco products comprise of more than just cigarettes. Read up on some real facts about tobacco that you should know.
  • Find out more about the the impact of tobacco on our health through educational materials and advisories at HPB Health Hub.

Report tobacco-related offences

Find out how to report tobacco related offences in Singapore.

How to report

You may report on any tobacco-related offences via one of the following methods:

  • Calling the Tobacco Regulation Branch at 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours (9.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday).
  • Submitting your report through our online feedback form or scan the QR code below:

FEEDBACK

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