Singapore's Ministry of Heath has announced that with effect from 28 November 2014 (Friday), shisha will be banned in Singapore in view of the health risks associated with shisha smoking and to prevent the proliferation and entrenchment of shisha smoking in Singapore
The announcement made on Thursday, states that the ban of sale and import will be put into effect via the publication of the Prohibited Tobacco Products Regulations made under Section 15 of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act.
This come after a review of the regulatory framework for shisha over the past year by the Ministry of Health, with a view to strengthening the control of shisha.
The ministry added that as a transitional measure, existing licensed tobacco importers and retailers who import or sell shisha tobacco will be allowed to continue importing and retailing shisha tobacco until 31 July 2016. This is to allow them ample time to deplete their stock and restructure their businesses away from shisha.
On 4 November this year, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health, Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said in parliament, "shisha smoking is no less harmful to health as other forms of tobacco use. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a typical session of shisha smoking involves the inhalation of smoke that is equivalent to smoking 100 or more cigarettes. This exposes the shisha smoker to high levels of harmful smoke toxicants including tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine."
Dr Muhammad Faishal added that the misconception that shisha smoking is less harmful and addictive due to its sweet smelling smoke and water filtration coupled with social nature of shisha smoking have contributed to an increase in shisha smoking globally, particularly among young people. This raises further concerns to the Health ministry that shisha smoking may serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking.
Any person who contravenes the ban shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
The ministry call upon members of the public who have information on the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of shisha tobacco by unlicensed operators may call the reporting line (Tel: 66842036 or 66842037) during office hours.