The Health Sciences Authority of Singapore (HSA) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) are launching an inter-agency pilot programme to strengthen the current enforcement regime against the use of electronic carburetors, The Straits Times reported today.
Health Ministry senior administrative undersecretary Rahayu Mahzam said in Parliament on Wednesday that under the pilot programme, NEA enforcement officers will be able to take action against those caught using e-cigarettes.
The number of e-cigarette arrests has nearly quadrupled in two years.
Ms Rahayu Mahzam said the pilot was aimed at ensuring meaningful enforcement in light of the increased use of e-cigarettes here and addressing the growing concerns of the community over the trend.
The latest figures from the HSA show that 4,916 people were arrested for vaping in 2022, up from 4,697 in 2021 and 1,266 in 2020. From 2018 to 2022, 860 people were arrested for selling and smuggling electronic atomizers, and 145 were prosecuted in the same period.
In February, The Straits Times Today reported that teachers here were concerned about an apparent increase in the use of electronic foggers by students, including some primary school pupils.
The Ministry of Education has said the average number of students smoking and vaping in primary and secondary schools, junior colleges or Millennium Colleges has remained at about seven per 1,000 students over the past three years.
Ms. Rahayu says the pilot program will coordinate resources so that work can be delegated.
She was responding to a question from Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok), who asked if the HSA had the necessary bandwidth to send a strong signal to those breaking the law via e-cigarettes.
The Straits Times has asked the Ministry of Health for more details on the pilot scheme.
Those caught using and possessing vape products can be fined up to $2,000.
Anyone convicted of selling, offering to sell, possessing for sale, importing or distributing electronic atomizers can be fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to six months.