According to a recent release from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), electronic vaporizers, commonly known as e-cigarettes, e-vaporizers, or vapes, have gained popularity in Singapore despite being banned.
Many young individuals are captivated by vaping because they perceive it as trendy and safe, while advocates argue that it aids in quitting smoking. However, there’s a darker side to this narrative.
The Dark Side of Vaping
E-vaporizers are known to harbor harmful chemicals such as fine particulate matter (PM), cancer-causing agents like carbonyls, and volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and benzene. Additionally, perilous heavy metals like tin, lead, and nickel have been detected in these devices, posing inherent health risks. Despite their alluring packaging in vibrant and sleek designs, adorned with sweet and fruity flavors to mask potential health hazards, the fundamental purpose of e-vaporizers is to dispense nicotine, a highly addictive substance.
While the long-term effects of vaping are still under scrutiny, it has been associated with nausea, vomiting, mouth and airway irritation, chest pain, and palpitations.
Penalties Under the Act
According to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, individuals convicted of selling, offering for sale, possessing for sale, importing, or distributing e-vaporizers may face a fine not exceeding S$10,000 or imprisonment for up to six months for the first offense.
Subsequent offenses can result in a fine not exceeding S$20,000, imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both. Furthermore, individuals found guilty of possessing, using, or purchasing e-vaporizers may be liable to fines not exceeding S$2,000.
Enforcement of the Act
In 2022, more than 2,600 e-vaporizer-related posts were removed from online platforms. Between 2018 and 2022, 860 individuals were apprehended for selling and smuggling e-vaporizers, with 145 facing prosecution during the same period.
For travelers, Singapore is heightening enforcement measures against those entering with electronic vaporizers. Operations will be conducted at air, land, and sea checkpoints, commencing at Changi Airport. Incoming passengers may undergo screening for vapes or their components, and fines will be imposed if caught.
Travelers can avoid penalties by declaring and surrendering these items at the Red Channel, as stipulated by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the HSA. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will persist in security checks to identify and deter smuggling attempts.