I Quit participants can be prosecuted if caught vaping, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

I Quit participants can be prosecuted if caught vaping

Participants in the I Quit programme, designed to help them quit smoking, need not worry about being fined or prosecuted as it does not presume they have or use vaping products.

But if they are caught using or possessing such products, then they will be liable for criminal prosecution.

Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said this on Feb 16 in Parliament when responding to a question from Associate Professor Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC).

Prof Lim had asked whether participants in I Quit, the smoking cessation programme by the Health Promotion Board, were offered immunity from prosecution.

He also asked how many have benefited from the programme, and what happens if these users are caught using vapes again.

Dr Janil said the programme does not presume that participants possess or use vaping products.

But if they are caught, they are subject to the same enforcement actions as other offenders.

Dr Janil said a total of 112,000 participants have joined the I Quit programme since May 2014, and it does not keep track of which participants are smokers or vapers.

Prof Lim then asked if the absence of immunity from prosecution might deter people from joining the programme.

Dr Janil said the Ministry of Health (MOH) will continue to study ways to improve the programme.

Vaping has been banned in Singapore since 2018. It is illegal to buy, use or own an electronic vaporiser or vape here.

The vaping situation in Singapore has been worsening steadily, with 1,656 e-vaporiser-related cases reported in December 2023 alone.

Buying, owning or using a vaporiser in Singapore can result in fines of up to $2,000.

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

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.