Smuggling of e-cigarettes drastically increasing in Singapore; strict legal action awaits smugglers

The number of e-cigarettes smuggling case has increased in Singapore in the last three years, adding up to the worries of authorities.

Man exhales e-cigarette vapour in park in Kiev
Representational image Reuters

Last three years in Singapore have witnessed a rising number of smuggling and sale cases of e-cigarettes, which are banned lawfully in the country. The demand of e-cigarettes is very high in black markets, and as the demand increases, smugglers have adopted various ways to supply it for the needy ones at a huge price.

Alarming Statistics

As per the statistics from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), it has been learned that 15,000 electronic cigarette cases, including smuggling and illegal sale, have been probed in a period of April 2014 - March 2017.

The smuggling cases of e-cigarettes from 2011 - 2014 were just 9000, and this new figure reveals that similar cases have shown a rise by 70 percent in the last three years. Even though Singapore law strictly prohibits the sale and smuggling of e-cigarettes, its popularity is rising day by day, and this is the main reason behind the increased number of smuggling cases.

Recently, a bill was submitted to the Parliament requesting changes in the current Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act. If the bill gets materialized, then a person who sells, smuggles or uses e-cigarettes will get a fine of $2000.

Are e-cigarettes more harmless than paper cigarettes?

Many people believe that e-cigarettes are more harmless than paper cigarettes, and they consider these electronic vaporizers the best way to quit smoking. E-cigarettes are easily available through various online e-commerce sites, and it has also played a crucial role in elevating the popularity of these electronic cigarettes. Many youngsters are also getting obsessed with using e-cigarettes as these vaporizers are available in different flavors, and unlike paper cigarettes, it does not have that tobacco odor. But HSA believes that there are no substantial pieces of evidence to prove that e-cigarettes will help to quit smoking.

"The ban of e-cigarettes will further protect Singaporeans from the harms of using such products and prevent its use from being entrenched," said an HSA Spokesperson, reports the Straits Times.

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