SINGAPORE — Three people allegedly peddling electronic vaporizers are currently assisting authorities with their investigations after the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) carried out searches last Thursday (January 6).
They are believed to have used Telegram to advertise and sell e-vaporizers and vapor pods to large numbers of people. Although their distribution network has been dismantled, HSA noted that many other e-vaporizer sellers are increasingly using anonymous messaging apps such as encrypted WeChat and Telegram.
The three people involved are two men and a woman, who were found in a hotel in Geylang and in houses in Yishun and Serangoon.
Not yet officially arrested, they could be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both, if found guilty of trafficking in drug products. imitation tobacco.
The maximum jail term and fine double on the second offence.
In this case, some $200,000 worth of electronic vaporizers and related components were seized, including hundreds of packets of vapor pods used to flavor tobacco.
HSA said one of the men has been referred to the Central Narcotics Bureau for investigation of alleged drug offences, for which he could face separate charges.
Although e-vaporizers have been banned here since 2018, more young people have braved the $2,000 fine to start vaping, usually as an alternative to conventional cigarettes.
An online survey conducted here by research firm Milieu Insight late last year found that 3.9% of over 5,900 respondents aged 21-69 currently use electronic vaporizers or vaporizers. heated tobacco products, an increase of 0.9% compared to a similar survey carried out earlier. This year.
Many heavy smokers take up vaping to quit smoking conventional cigarettes.
E-vaporizers are generally cheaper and can be puffed anywhere – including indoors – and are therefore more convenient for those looking for a quick fix.
Some health authorities have said that e-vaporizers are less harmful than smoking, but all agree that they are still not safe.
There has been an epidemic of vaping-associated lung injury and death in the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirming 60 deaths in patients with Evali (lung injury associated with e-cigarette use or vaping product).
During an audit last year, The Straits Times found that six top sellers posted more than 200,000 ads on their Telegram groups last year.
The authorities pledged to step up enforcement efforts.