On 1 January 2021, the minimum legal age to purchase, use, possess, sell and supply tobacco products will be raised to 21. This is Singapore’s ongoing efforts to reduce smoking. Limiting access to tobacco products aims to prevent youth from picking up smoking.
Parliament debated and passed the change from 18 to 21 years old on 7 November 2017. The minimum legal age was raised from 18 to 19 years old on 1 January 2019. On 1 January 2020, this was increased from 19 years old to 20 years old.
Retailers who sell tobacco to anyone underage are liable to a fine of up to S$5,000 for the first offence. For subsequent offences, the fine is S$10,000. Tobacco retail licenses will be suspended for the first offence and revoked for subsequent ones. The tobacco retail license of anyone selling tobacco to underaged persons in school uniform or under 12 will be revoked.
The public is warned not to give tobacco to underaged individuals. They will be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of S$500 for the first offence. The fine for subsequent offences is S$1,000.
Tobacco use is one of the highest contributors to ill health and premature death in Singapore. It is also associated with mouth and lung cancers, ischaemic heart disease, stroke, lung disease and many other diseases.
The public can report errant retailers to the Health Sciences Authority’s Tobacco Regulation Branch. Visit go.gov.sg/reporttobaccooffences. Or call 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours from 9 am to 5.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays.