Friday, February 23, 2018

Vape / e-cigarettes banned in Singapore

Effective February 1st, 2018, Singapore is passed the law to ban all manner of Vaping in the country outright, from sale, import, distribution to smoking it.

Ms Fatima Yusof, 20, a waitress, said of vaping: "I like the flavours and it's cheaper than cigarettes but it's too difficult to find the refills."

With the total ban, Singapore will have one of the world's toughest stances against the controversial products.

Neighbouring countries are moving towards allowing regulated use of such products.

According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand is reconsidering its three-year-old ban on e-cigarettes.

Malaysia has elected three ministries in January last year to regulate the hand-held device that heat flavoured, nicotine-infused liquids to produce a vapour, reported the Malay Mail Online. The Sultan of Johor, however, has vowed to stamp out vaping in the southern state.

In Indonesia, only businesses that have been certified by the health ministry and whose products meet national standards can import and sell e-cigarettes, The Jakarta Post reported.

The Health Ministry considers them gateway products that get users hooked on nicotine, which then leads to cigarette use.Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist in private practice, said e-cigarettes can be a boon or bane, depending on the user's motivation.

If they were given to people who are not motivated to quit smoking or to initiate non-smokers into the habit, they, particularly the youth, may become hooked, he said.

"Their consumption may increase for them to get the same amount of kick, especially when they are stressed out."

But those who are motivated to quit can moderate their nicotine intake by "titrating downwards very gradually and conveniently", he added.

For sales executive Matthew Goh, 25, who has been smoking since he was 18, the ban on e-cigarettes will not change his habit. But he does see the good in the ban.

"I've seen teenagers in their school uniforms using the e-cigarettes, and I think it's difficult to accept (the sight of them)," said Mr Goh, who had tried e-cigarettes for a few months and thought them to be a cheaper alternative. He then went back to his old habit.

"I cannot quite compare the effects, but I think I'm taking in more nicotine with the e-cigarettes because it's hard to keep count, unlike regular cigarettes."

Under section 16(2A) of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act (TCASA), it is illegal to possess, purchase and use vaporisers in Singapore as of 1 February 2018. This includes e-cigarettes, e-pipes and e-cigars as the TCASA covers any toy, device or article:

  • That resembles, or is designed to resemble, a tobacco product;
  • That is capable of being smoked;
  • That may be used in such a way as to mimic the act of smoking; or
  • The packaging of which resembles, or is designed to resemble, the packaging commonly associated with tobacco products.

Persons found guilty of this offence can be fined up to $2,000.

In addition, under section 16(1) of the TCASA, it has been illegal to import vaporisers from 1 August 2016 onwards.

This means that buying vaporisers online and shipping them to Singapore for personal use is illegal. Those guilty of the offence are liable to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 6 months’ jail. Repeat offenders are liable to a fine of up to $20,000 and/or to 12 months’ jail.

As advised by the Health Sciences Authority in a press release on 13 July 2016, members of the public should refrain from using vaporisers, and discard any vaporisers they may own, to avoid breaking the law.

So, now you know, if you are traveling into Singapore and intend to bring your e-cigs with you, leave them back in your own country or be prepared for it to be confiscated upon entry into the country.

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