HSA suspends 2 retailers' licenses for selling tobacco to minors

HSA suspends 2 retailers' licenses for selling tobacco to minors
PHOTO: Health Sciences Authority

The retail licenses of two errant tobacco retailers located in Woodlands and Choa Chu Kang have been suspended, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in a statement on Tuesday (April 12).

They announced that these retailers had sold tobacco products to minors below the age of 18.

The two retailers, Fair Inn Food Place at 806 Woodlands Street 81 and H.R Frozen Food and Trading at 205 Choa Chu Kang Central, will not be allowed to sell tobacco products for a period of six months. This is the first offence for the two outlets.

One of the sellers was an employee, while the other was a co-owner of the store.

They had both sold the tobacco products without checking the age of their consumers and were caught via HSA's ground surveillance and enforcement activities.

In the last three years, 25 tobacco retail licences were suspended and 21 were revoked by HSA.

HSA reminds tobacco retail licensees that they are responsible for all transactions of tobacco products that take place at their outlets, as well as the actions of their employees. Tobacco retail licensees are expected by the HSA to educate their employees on the law pertaining to the sale of tobacco products and for sellers to check the age of those who wish to buy tobacco products.

Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to those below the age of 18 is liable to a maximum fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.

Furthermore, the offender's tobacco retail licence will be suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence.

However, if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to under-18 minors in school uniform or those below 12 years old, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even if it is their first offence.

HSA advises members of the public not to supply any tobacco products to under-18 minors. Those who are caught buying or acquiring any tobacco product for an underage person is liable to a maximum fine of up to $2,500 for the first offence and up to $5,000 for the second or subsequent offence.

Anyone caught giving or furnishing any tobacco product to a person below the age of 18 is liable to a maximum fine of up to $500 for the first offence and up to $1,000 for the second or subsequent offence.

From 2013 to 2015, 42 individuals were caught for these offences.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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