Singapore: You can't smoke if you are not a 19-year-old

MOH says minimum legal age for smoking to be raised to 19 from January 2019

Man smoking cigarette

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced on Friday that the minimum legal age for the purchase, use, possession, sale and supply of tobacco products will be raised from 18 to 19-year-old from January 1, Tuesday.

In a statement, MOH said that government has planned to raise the minimum legal age to 21-year over a period of three years.

"Raising the MLA (minimum legal age) is part of the Ministry of Health (MOH)'s ongoing efforts to enhance public health and reduce smoking prevalence in Singapore," MOH said.

The statement also added that "It aims to prevent youth from picking up smoking by limiting access to tobacco products, and to further de-normalise smoking particularly for those below 21."

Changes to the MLA as part of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed in the Parliament on November 7, last year.

It should be noted that retailers who sell any tobacco products to a person below the age limit could face a fine up to S$5,000 for a first offence and for the repeat offenders the maximum fine will be S$10,000. If convicted, the retail license will be suspended for the first time offenders and revoked for subsequent offences.

Those caught buying or acquiring a tobacco product for a person, who is below the minimum legal age, could be fined up to S$2,500 for a first offence and S$5,000 for subsequent offences.

If anyone is caught while giving or furnishing tobacco to a person below the minimum legal age, he or she will be liable for a fine up to S$500 for a first offence and S$1,000 for subsequent offences.

If an underage smoker gets caught for using, buying or having in their possession tobacco products, then he or she could be fined up to S$300.