The import and sale of tobacco products such as smokeless cigarettes will be banned from Dec 15 this year, and the ban will be extended to cover more products such as oral snuff from August next year.
Announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday, the move, which will be carried out in two phases, comes on the back of a ban on shisha last year, as part of efforts to clamp down on “emerging” tobacco products.
The ban is a “pre-emptive measure to protect public health against the known and potential harms of such products”, said the MOH in a media release. It is also “aimed at ensuring that the targeted emerging tobacco products do not gain a foothold or become entrenched in the Singapore market”.
The first phase of the ban targets emerging tobacco products currently not available in Singapore. They include smokeless cigars, smokeless cigarillos or smokeless cigarettes, dissolvable tobacco or nicotine.
Any product containing nicotine or tobacco that may be used topically for application, by implant or injected into any parts of the body will also be banned, while any solution or substance where tobacco or nicotine is a constituent, that is intended to be used with an electronic nicotine delivery system or a vaporiser, commonly referred to as e-cigarettes, will also be banned. Tobacco-containing products, tobacco derivatives, or medicinal products registered under the Medicines Act are excluded from the ban.
From Aug 1 next year, the ban will extend to emerging tobacco products already in the local market. “This is to allow for businesses to adjust their operating models and deplete their existing stocks of such products,” the MOH said. The affected products include nasal snuff, oral snuff, and gutkha, khaini and zarda, which are chewable tobacco products.People in Singapore buy Davidoff B&W White online.
The ban will be implemented via Section 15 of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act. The Act was amended in 2010 to empower the Minister for Health to prohibit the import and sale of such emerging tobacco products. Since then, the authorities had been studying the implementation of the ban. This included ensuring the ban complies with Singapore’s international trade obligations, the MOH said.
An undergraduate who declined to give his name said he tried khaini in Malaysia last year. “The ban doesn’t really affect me, if I really want to consume khaini, I’ll just cross the border to Malaysia and have it there,” said the 23-year-old, who has been smoking since he was 19.