Tobacco retail licences of four errant tobacco retailers were suspended by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for selling cigarettes to persons under the Minimum Legal Age (MLA) of 19 years.
HSA said in its press release on Tuesday (16 April) that the retailers were caught via HSA’s ground surveillance and enforcement activities to deter the illegal sale of tobacco products to under-aged persons.
The four outlets are:
According to the authority, the offences were detected between January and March this year. Therefore, the affected outlets are not allowed to sell tobacco products during the six-month suspension period.
HSA reminds all tobacco retail licensees to educate their employees on the law pertaining to the sale of tobacco products and for sellers to verify the age of those who wish to buy tobacco products.
The MLA to use, possess or buy tobacco products has been raised to 19 years with effect from 1 January 2019, and it will be raised to 20 years with effect from 1 January 2020 and 21 years with effect from 1
Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to persons below the MLA is liable, on conviction in Court, to a maximum fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.
In addition, the tobacco retail licence will be suspended for 6 months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence. However, if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to under-aged persons in school uniform or those below 12 years of age, the tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even at the first offence.
According to HSA, from 2015 to March 2019, 87 tobacco retail licences were suspended and 13 were revoked by HSA.
In accordance with the licence application criteria, any person who commits an offence of selling tobacco to a person under the MLA will not be eligible to apply for a tobacco retail licence, the authority noted.