The growing popularity of e-cigarettes or vaporisers in Singapore, particularly among teenagers, has raised concerns over health hazards. These electronic smoking devices are easily accessible to minors as they do not require legal age verification. E-cigarettes and e-liquids are readily available for purchase from various online marketplaces, including Carousell, Gumtree, Qoo10, and social media platforms such as Instagram and local online forums. This accessibility has made it easier for minors to obtain these products, which often contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance.
A quick search on Carousell reveals over 30 posts selling e-liquids under vague search terms such as “juice,” making it challenging for authorities to detect and monitor such activities. E-liquids are sold at relatively low prices, with a 10ml bottle priced at around $13 Singapore dollars and a 30ml bottle priced at $25 Singapore dollars, making them affordable for teenagers. The e-liquids are available in different flavours, such as bandung, root beer float, and caramel macchiato, which may contain nicotine and other harmful substances that can cause long-term health problems.
E-cigarettes Banned in Singapore
Singapore government has banned the use or importation of these electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes. While according to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), there were more than 15,000 cases involving people bringing vaporisers into Singapore illegally between 2012 and September 2015. In the same period, 39 peddlers were caught for selling vaporisers in Singapore.HSA said the vaporisers were found in parcels, most purchased online and on people caught hand carrying into Singapore.
What are the Fines / Penalties?
The Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act in Singapore prohibits the importation, distribution, sale or offer for sale of any item designed to resemble a tobacco product, including vaporisers. Thus, buying these vaporisers or e-cigarettes from overseas websites or hand carrying in hand luggage is also considered as importing.
Offenders may be fined up to S$5,000 for the first offence and up to S$10,000 for subsequent offences.
Vaporisers May Cause Health Hazards
Vaporizers, also known as e-cigarettes or vapes, have become increasingly popular as a perceived safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. However, there are concerns about the health hazards associated with using vaporizers.
One of the main concerns is that vaporizers may cause lung damage. When the e-liquid in the vaporizer is heated, it can produce toxic chemicals and ultrafine particles that can be harmful when inhaled. Some of these chemicals, such as formaldehyde and acrolein, are known to cause cancer.
In addition, vaporizers may also cause nicotine addiction, particularly in young people who may not have previously used tobacco products. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and frequent use of vaporizers can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
There have also been reports of explosions and fires caused by malfunctioning vaporizers, which can cause serious injuries and property damage.
Overall, while vaporizers may be perceived as a safer alternative to smoking, they still pose significant health hazards and should be used with caution.
Dr Wong Seng Weng, medical director of The Cancer Centre, said these e-cigarette users are exposed to nicotine, which is addictive, as well as heated and aerosolised propylene glycol and glycerol, which may turn into carcinogens. A carcinogen is a substance that has cancer-causing agents and toxicants, in some cases, as much as those in conventional cigarettes.
In addition, there are also cases in that e-cigarette explodes and caused bodily injury to the users. You may want to check out the man in Kentucky, US that suffered second-degree burns after his faulty e-cigarette set his trousers on fire.
After all, there are still no in-depth studies that e-cigarettes could be as smoking-cessation aids and the industry safety standards for manufacturing such devices are not being laid out and widely accepted by countries.
Quitting Smoking Once and For All?
If you are looking for some help to quit smoking, you may join the iQuit Club in Singapore.
- Banned e-smoking devices sold online, The Straits Time, 11 November 2015. Retrieved 2016-02-29
- Man catches fire after e-cigarette explodes in his pocket at petrol station, The Guardian, 26 February 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
- US health watchdog to take legal action against e-cigarette makerse, The Guardian, 2 September 2015. Retrieved 2016-02-29.