13 retailers have tobacco licence revoked or suspended

SINGAPORE - A tobacco retailer in Serangoon has had its licence revoked for selling cigarettes to a 17-year-old in uniform, while 12 other retailers had their licences suspended between May and July for selling to minors.

The retailers were caught during the Health Sciences Authority's (HSA) ground surveillance and enforcement activities.

In a statement on Wednesday (Aug 16), the HSA said: "All 13 sellers did not ask for any form of identification to check the buyers' age. They had claimed that they were busy or that the minors looked older than they were."

Sellers take the risk of contravening the laws if they assess age by mere physical appearance of the buyer, added the authority.

Value Supermart at 301, Serangoon Avenue 2 had its licence revoked because the minor was in a school uniform. The tobacco retail licence will be revoked if any outlet is found selling tobacco products to under-18 minors in school uniform or to those below 12 years of age.

Those who are caught selling tobacco products to minors are liable to a maximum fine of $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence. In addition, the tobacco retail licence will be suspended for six months for the first offence and revoked for the second offence.

The 12 outlets which have had their licence suspended are: 326 Coffee Shop at 326, Woodlands Street 32; 151 Coffee & Tea at 151, Serangoon North Avenue 2; Sri Kumaran Mini Mart at 557, Jurong West Street 42; Angel Supermart at 326, Woodlands Street 32; Kopitiam Investment at 108, Punggol Field; H & N Mini-Mart at 620, Hougang Avenue 8; Good Price Hub at 135, Jurong Gateway Road; Chin Ju Heng Mini Supermarket at 835, Tampines Street 83; Jaya Ambiga Trading at 176, Boon Lay Drive; Zeng Mao Sheng at 716, Yishun Street 71; Fortune Supermarket at 780, Woodlands Crescent; and Zhong Guo Chao Shi at 418, Yishun Avenue 11.

HSA said that tobacco retailers are responsible for transactions of tobacco products at their outlets as well as the actions of their employees, and that sellers should check the ages of those buying cigarettes.

From 2015 to date, 53 tobacco retail licences have been suspended and nine have been revoked by HSA.

HSA added that members of the public who have information on the illegal sale of tobacco products to under-18 minors can call the Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 during office hours.