Vaping is now effectively illegal in Singapore.

Anti-tobacco legislation is hitting Asia hard, and sadly, vapour products have often been affected. Like many laws which have curbed the practice of vaping, this comes as an amendment to an existing law: in this case the 2017 TCASA Amendment to the Tobacco Act. Singapore’s crackdown has followed an all-too-familiar pattern of regulation failing to adequately distinguish between e-liquids and combustible tobacco.

The official press release from the Singaporean Ministry of Health has attempted to coin the phrase “imitation tobacco products” as a reference to every nicotine delivery alternative, from shisha to e-cigarettes.

“Examples of prohibited products under Section 15 of the TCASA include smokeless tobacco products, chewing tobacco and shisha, while Section 16 of the TCASA prohibits any device or article that resemble tobacco products. This includes vaporisers such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes, e-cigars and the like.”

This is no light touch regulation with slap-on-the-wrist consequences either. Anyone caught in violation of the new law faces a fine, tourists included.

“Under TCASA, any persons caught purchasing, in the possession of, or using emerging and imitation tobacco products, are liable for a fine not exceeding $2,000.” (approximately £1073)

Offenders may also face up to a year in prison. The legislation gives no leeway to products purchased before its imposition, as the report encourages the public to “discard any prohibited tobacco products that they currently have in possession.”

It’s grim news, but the fight is never over. With vaping continuing to grow around the world and our eyes on Singapore, we hope to see some robust opposition in the near future.