The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) announced on Tuesday (Dec. 19) that passengers arriving in the country will be inspected to detect the presence of e-vaporizers and their components in the arrival area. Those found with e-vaporizers or their components will be fined.
Passengers carrying e-vaporizers will be required to use the Red Lane, which is specifically designed for people carrying declarable items to dispose of prohibited items. MOH and HSA also mentioned that travelers who declare and surrender items in the Red Lane will be exempt from legal penalties. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will also continue security checks to detect and prevent smuggling attempts.
Vaping is considered illegal in Singapore and can result in a fine of S$2,000 (US$1,490). Those involved in the importation, distribution, or sale of vaping products risk more severe penalties, including possible imprisonment.
Nevertheless, the number of people caught using and possessing vapes has increased, with some students starting to adopt the habit. Some users obtain their supplies through online platforms such as Telegram or while traveling abroad.
This initiative is part of a multi-agency effort to reduce the use of vaping. As such, Singapore authorities will be conducting increased inspections at air, land, and sea checkpoints in the coming months, starting with Changi Airport. Not only at border checkpoints but also in business districts, shopping malls, parks, smoking areas, and public entertainment venues. These locations will be considered "public hotspots" and violators will be fined on the spot.
As of December 1, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) noted that law enforcement officers from the National Environmental Agency have been empowered to take action against individuals who use or possess vapes. Collaboration is also underway with the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Infocomm Media Development Authority to improve the detection and removal of online vape sales and promotions.
First-time offenders involved in the importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of e-vaporizers and their components may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for not more than six months, or both. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $20,000, imprisoned up to 12 months, or both.
Schools and colleges will also step up efforts to detect and enforce vaping policies. If students are caught using or possessing e-vaporizers, the products will be confiscated and their parents notified.
Student will be reported to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), and schools will address related violations through existing disciplinary frameworks, including actions such as suspension or other disciplinary sanctions, including caning for male students. They will also be enrolled in smoking cessation programs where counselors will guide them through the cessation process to achieve sustainable behavior change.
Singapore authorities say the multi-agency strategy they are implementing aims to protect their citizens from harmful tobacco products and prevent the spread of the vaping culture locally.
In general, vapes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance, as well as carcinogens and other toxic substances that can increase the risk of heart and lung disease and harm the developing brains of young people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that urgent action is needed to control electronic cigarettes to protect children and non-smokers. The WHO noted an increase in vaping among 13- to 15-year-olds compared to adults in its regions, driven by aggressive marketing strategies. WHO urges governments to implement measures such as banning flavorings, including menthol, and enforcing tobacco controls on vaping.