Importing and selling vaping products has been banned in the island city-state since 2014, and possession of the products has been made illegal since December 2015. In line with Singapore’s Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught in possession of the products will be fined $2000 and as a consequence of this, Singapore is now known to have a thriving e-cigarette black market.
Closing in on electronic cigarettes
Then in June, Singapore launched a public consultation about raising the legal age. Additionally the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that it going to take action about a current loophole pertaining to e-cigarette regulations, pointing out that while the importation, distribution, sale of the products was currently prohibited, purchase, use and possession, were not.
Why banning e-cigs would be detrimental to public health
Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera agrees with this approach. “Surely, the humane thing to do is to allow smokers — both those seeking to quit and reduce consumption — an avenue to use a less harmful product?” he said.
Sadly, in a commentary titled, “Singapore should aim to be smoke-free, not just smoke-lite” released last month, a Singaporean Professor of Public Health, said that electronic cigarettes are not any safer than regular cigarettes. “Emerging tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn cigarettes… are no less harmful than cigarettes”, said professor and dean of Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, Dr Chia Kee Seng, whilst ignoring the countless studies that indicate otherwise.
The benefits in endorsing vaping for smoking cessation
Another recent study, from Georgetown University Medical Center in the United States, indicated that if smokers had to switch to e-cigarettes, up to 6.6 million early deaths could be avoided across the US alone.
Unfortunately, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Amrin Amin seems to agree with Dr. Seng, and in response to the MPs said that research indicates that vaping products act as a gateway to smoking. A theory that has now been dispelled by a number of reliable studies.
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