3 retailers punished for selling tobacco products to minors

SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has revoked the tobacco retail licence of one errant retailer and suspended the licences of two other errant tobacco retailers who sold tobacco products to minors under the age of 18.

Bedok Goodwill Store will no longer be allowed to sell tobacco products as it is not the first time it has commited the offence of selling tobacco products to minors, , said HSA in a media release on Wednesday (Jan 13). In 2012, it was suspended for six months.

In the latest incident, the outlet had sold tobacco products to three minors, who were all in school uniform, in two separate incidents on the same day.

"Despite its previous conviction, the outlet continued to commit the offence...(so) it will no longer be allowed to sell tobacco products," HSA said.

The authority also said that the seller also took the opportunity to profit from the sales to these minors by selling the cigarettes at a higher price than the actual retail price to them.

Two other tobacco retailers, 7-11 at 523 Bukit Batok Street 52 and popular watering hole Blu Jaz at Bali Lane, also had their licences suspended. This is their first time selling tobacco products to underage minors, said HSA.

The suspension prohibits them from selling tobacco products for six months.

HSA said that all three sellers, who were employees of the respective retail outlets, had failed to check the age of the minors before selling the tobacco to them.

Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to persons below the age of 18, could be fined up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence if convicted.

In addition, the tobacco retail licence will be suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence.

If any outlet is found selling tobacco products to under-18 minors in school uniform or those below 12 years of age, its tobacco retail licence could be revoked at the first offence, said HSA.

25 tobacco retail licences have been suspended in the past three years, and 21 licences have revoked in the same period.