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NEA officers to be empowered to catch vapers

NEA officers to be empowered to catch vapers
Under the pilot, NEA enforcement officers be able to take action against those caught vaping.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) are working on a cross-agency pilot programme to strengthen the current enforcement regime against the use of electronic vaporisers.

Under the pilot, NEA enforcement officers will be able to take action against those caught vaping, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam said in Parliament on Wednesday (March 1).

The joint effort comes as the number of offenders caught vaping has almost quadrupled in two years.

Ms Rahayu Mahzam said the pilot is aimed at ensuring meaningful enforcement in the light of the increase in vaping here and to address growing concern in the community over this trend.

Latest figures from HSA showed that 4,916 people were caught for vaping in 2022 – up from 4,697 in 2021 and 1,266 in 2020. From 2018 to 2022, 860 people were caught selling and smuggling e-vaporisers, and 145 were prosecuted in the same period.

In February, The Straits Times reported that teachers here were concerned about an apparent rise in the use of e-vaporisers among students, including among some primary school pupils.

The Ministry of Education had said that over the past three years, the number of students with smoking and vaping offences in primary schools, secondary schools and junior colleges or Millennia Institute has remained at an average of about seven for every 1,000 students.


Ms Rahayu said the pilot programme will synergise resources to be able to delegate the work.

She was replying to a question by Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok), who asked if the HSA has the necessary bandwidth to send a strong signal to those who breach the law by vaping.

The Straits Times has sent queries to the Ministry of Health for more details on the pilot programme.

Those caught using and possessing vaping products can be fined up to $2,000.

Anyone convicted of selling, offering for sale, possessing for sale, importing or distributing e-vaporisers can be fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to six months.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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