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Importing and selling vaping products have been banned in the island city-state since 2014, and possession of the products has been made illegal since December 2015. As a consequence of this, since April 2014, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has been involved in the investigation of approximately 15,000 cases related to the possession and smuggling of the products.

Smokers desperate to quit, who learn about the relative benefit of the products, resort to purchasing them on the black market where they are unregulated, hence possibly highly unsafe.
Such patterns in relation to e-cigs have also been observed in countries such as the US, Australia, and Malaysia, where the products have been banned or over regulated.

Mr Lim Shen Yong, senior social worker at AMKFSC Community Services, said young people believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, and use the products as a way to quit. Public Health experts would agree with these youngsters.

In line with previous research, a study titled, Comparing the cancer potencies of emissions from vapourised nicotine products including e-cigarettes with those of tobacco smoke, published last August, indicated once again that the cancer risk from vaping is 1% that from smoking.

Prohibition does not work

Additionally, experts have spoken up repeatedly about the dangers of adopting a forbidding approach. Many vapers who grow accustomed to using the products for smoking cessation purposes, or smokers who learn about their benefits for harm reduction, grow desperate and resort to purchasing the products on the black market where they are unregulated, hence possibly highly unsafe.

In line with Singapore’s Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, which also includes raising the minimum smoking age from 18 to 21, anyone caught in possession of the products will be fined $2000. This is ironic when considering that in countries such as the UK, the products have been endorsed for smoking cessation and are delivering excellent results.

Read Further : The Straits Times

How do Singaporeans feel about the local e-cigarette ban?

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