The point-of-sale display ban on tobacco products – approved in Singapore’s parliament in March – took effect on August 1, 2017. Retailers have a one-year grace period before the ban goes into effect, a joint statement by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said recently.
MOH has beefed up tobacco control measures in a bid to protect public health and reduce tobacco consumption, particularly among younger Singaporeans. These include previously announced amendments to the tobacco (control of advertisements and sale) act, such as bans on emerging tobacco products and shisha.
General tobacco retailers will be required to use plain, undecorated storage devices to keep tobacco products within their premises out of the direct line of sight of the public and potential customers. A text-only price list, which must fulfill MOH’s requirements, may be shown, but only upon customers’ request.
The amended act extends existing restrictions on e-cigarettes to include newer varieties which do not necessarily bear a physical resemblance to cigarettes or other tobacco products. The component parts of such products will also be banned to prevent retailers from importing them and reassembling them locally for sale.
Existing prohibitions on advertisements for tobacco products will also be extended to cover advertising for e-cigarettes and similar products. The ban on advertising for tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and similar products will also be extended to advertisements published electronically, MOH said.
Advertisements and sales promotions originating from Singapore, whether targeting local or foreign audiences, and advertisements from outside Singapore which can be accessed by people in Singapore, will now be banned. Customer loyalty programs and promotional schemes involving tobacco products are also not allowed.
A ban on emerging tobacco products first imposed in June last year will now be extended to include the likes of nasal snuff, oral snuff, and gutka.
The grace period for importers and retailers on the ban on shisha – first imposed in November 2014 – also comes to an end. Existing licensed tobacco importers and retailers who import or sell shisha will be prohibited from importing, wholesaling, or retailing the product.