Singapore is raising the minimum legal age (MLA) for the purchase, use, possession, sale and supply of tobacco products from 20 to 21 years old, with effect from January 1, 2021.
Ministry of Health said in a press statement that raising the MLA is part of Singapore's ongoing efforts to reduce smoking prevalence.
"It aims to prevent youth from picking up smoking by limiting access to tobacco products, and to further de-normalise smoking particularly for those below 21 of age."
Warning notices, stating that sale of tobacco to persons below the age of 21 is not permitted, have been distributed to retailers for display at their outlets.
Retailers who sell any tobacco products to a person below 21 years old will be subjected to a maximum fine of SGD 5,000 for the first offence and SGD 10,000 for subsequent offences. In addition, their tobacco retail licences will be suspended for the first offence and revoked for subsequent offences.
If any outlet is found selling tobacco products to underage persons in school uniform or those below 12 years of age, its tobacco retail licence will be revoked, even at the first offence.
Meanwhile, any individual caught giving or furnishing tobacco to a person below the MLA will be fined SGD 500 for the first offence and SGD 1,000 for subsequent offences.
Those caught buying or acquiring tobacco for a person below the MLA will be subject to a maximum fine of SGD 2,500 for the first offence and SGD 5,000 for subsequent offences. Underage smokers who are caught using, buying or having in their possession tobacco products will be fined up to SGD 300.
Tobacco use is one of the highest contributors to ill health and premature death in Singapore.