The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has seized more than $2 million worth of e-vaporisers and related components after an operation conducted on October 11 2021.
It is the largest seizure of tobacco products by the HSA, in terms of the volume and street value of the e-vaporisers, the authority added.
The authority said it acted on a tip-off and inspected a storage facility in Boon Lay.
Scale of Operation
A total of 10,057 assorted e-vaporisers, 48,822 assorted pods (e-vaporiser components) and 187 e-liquids – worth $2,260,825 in all – were seized.
“This successful operation has disrupted the operations of an illegal e-vaporisers supply chain,” the HSA said in a statement on October 25 2021.
The Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act prohibits the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of imitation tobacco products.
These include shisha tobacco; smokeless tobacco; chewing tobacco such as Gutkha, Khaini and Zarda; as well as electronic vaporisers and their accessories.
It is illegal to purchase, use and possess e-vaporisers.
Any person convicted of an offence can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to six months or both for the first offence, and fined up to $20,000 or jailed up to 12 months or both for a second or subsequent offence.
All prohibited tobacco items will be seized and confiscated.
Possible E-vaporiser Health Concerns
In 2019, a Health Promotion Board (HPB) survey with 600 respondents found that almost 7 in 10 young people didn’t know that e-vaporisers contained harmful chemicals.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States has identified vitamin E acetate, an additive, as a “chemical of concern”. Vitamin E is usually not harmful when ingested or applied to the skin; however, the oil could cause respiratory issues when inhaled.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that vapes are “not harmless”. While many of the long term health effects of vaping are still unknown, recent studies have shown that vaping is associated with increased risk of heart and lung diseases like myocardial infarction, asthma and COPD, in the short-term.
E-vaporisers expose the user to a combination of harmful chemical substances. Commonly found substances include cancer-causing compounds like formaldehyde and benzene. Formaldehyde is known to cause infertility as well.
Another commonly found substance is nicotine – a highly addictive substance that keeps individuals nicotine-dependent and eventually becomes long-term users of vapes. Nicotine also lowers youths’ impulse control permanently. Impulse control issues refer to the failure to resist urges. Common examples include sudden physical or verbal outbursts, internet addiction, compulsive eating etc. Nicotine exposure during adolescence also negatively affects the developing brain’s ability to control attention and learning.
Lastly, certain compounds in vapes might be highlighted to be “food safe” compounds, this may mislead individuals to mistakenly believe that the products are safe for use. However, “food safe” simply means these compounds are safe for consumption – not inhalation. The vaping process heats and vapourises these compounds, which can turn them from “safe” into something dangerous.
Vaping can be habit-forming when used as a coping mechanism during times of stress or when it becomes a part of a regular ritual where it is associated with a particular activity. For example, some people might vape after every meal, or, whenever they hang out with a certain group of friends or colleagues.
E-vaporisers do not burn out like traditional cigarettes and so users could end up vaping more than they realise.
Whether it’s buying, selling, possessing or even sharing photos or videos of vaping on social media—if you do any of these, you’re breaking the law.
It is an offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act (TCASA) to sell, use, possess for sale, import or distribute imitation tobacco products. This includes e-vaporisers/cigarettes and anything else that resembles a smoking device.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.