177 people found with vapes at Changi Airport during enforcement operation, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

177 people found with vapes at Changi Airport during enforcement operation

A total of 177 people were found with e-vaporisers at Changi Airport in an operation conducted over four days in late December by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

Of the 177 people, 61 were fined. The others avoided penalties as they had declared and disposed of the items, said the Ministry of Health (MOH), HSA and ICA in a joint statement on Jan 4.

The operation, held on Dec 20, 23, 27 and 30, was to deter attempts to bring in e-vaporisers, or vapes, via the airport during the peak travel season.

During the operation, HSA and ICA officers monitored passengers who arrived at Changi Airport’s four terminals.

Pull-up banners and digital screens informing passengers that e-vaporisers are prohibited in Singapore were displayed in areas with high traffic.

Passengers were reminded to pass through the Red Channel after baggage collection to declare their vapes to ICA officers.

Passengers whose baggage showed anomalies when scanned were subjected to additional checks. Vapes found were confiscated and fines were issued on the spot to passengers who failed to declare them.

The operations at the borders are part of efforts by the authorities to prevent vaping from gaining a foothold in Singapore.

The joint statement added that in a separate operation at Tuas Checkpoint on Dec 21, ICA officers uncovered 25 e-vaporisers and related components under the seats of a Singapore-registered car.

In total, 1,656 e-vaporiser related cases were detected in December, according to the statement.

They include 176 people who were caught by the HSA for having e-vaporisers at the ZoukOut 2023 dance music festival at Sentosa from Dec 2 to 3.

In the coming months, HSA and ICA will conduct operations at land and sea checkpoints.

Meanwhile, schools and institutes of higher learning will strengthen detection and enforcement efforts against vaping. Other measures include improving detection and removal of sales and advertisements of e-vaporisers online.

Those who possess, use or purchase e-vaporisers may be fined up to $2,000.

First-time offenders who import, distribute, sell or offer for sale e-vaporisers and their components may be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $20,000, jailed for up to 12 months, or both.

All prohibited tobacco items will also be seized.

Information about prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is on the HSA website.

Those who have information on the illegal possession, use, purchase, import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of e-vaporisers can call the Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 during office hours.