SINGAPORE - Two residences at Yishun Street 81 and Seletar Hills Estate that had engaged in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) sales totaling over $90,000 were raided by the Health Sciences Authority's (HSA) Tobacco Regulation Branch.
Preliminary investigations found that the two suspects, Singaporean males aged 33 and 38, were business partners and had purchased prohibited products from overseas suppliers to sell via an e-commerce website, HSA said in a press statement today.
The website has since been shut down by HSA.
The raid on Dec 11 was part of ongoing efforts by HSA to deter the illegal peddling of e-cigarettes in Singapore. Since 2011, eight people have been prosecuted for selling e-cigarettes, with the stiffest penalty meted out so far being a fine of $64,500 for illegal e-cigarette sales.
HSA would like to remind the public that the import, distribution or sale of e-cigarettes, e-pipes or e-cigars is an offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sales) Act.
First-time offenders may face a fine of up to $5,000, while subsequent offences may carry a fine of up to $10,000.
Although e-cigarettes are being marketed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarette, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness in helping smokers quit tobacco use. The World Health Organsation (WHO) has also stated that it does not support e-cigarettes as a legitimate form of therapy to help smokers quit.
According to a 2011 HSA study, there is also a poor correlation between actual nicotine content and the labelled amount in different e-cigarette products.
Therefore, the Health Ministry, Health Promotion Board and HSA are concerned that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to developing a smoking habit, particularly among the young.
Those wishing to quit smoking with the assistance of pharmacotherapy are advised by HSA to use regulated and licensed nicotine replacement therapy products or other non-nicotine medications.