SINGAPORE – The Health Minister will soon have the final say on what tobacco products and substitutes will be allowed here.
Proposed changes to the law, which were introduced yesterday in Parliament, would give him flexibility to prohibit new or emerging products as well as existing ones.
Mr Khaw Boon Wan had signalled his concern earlier this month that smokeless alternatives, which would include strips, lozenges, snus and nicotine candies, may encourage smoking or tobacco consumption.
Now, the legislative amendments will empower the minister to limit the amount of certain substances, such as nicotine and tar, in any tobacco product that is allowed here.
One of the revisions, however, would remove one of his discretionary powers. The minister will no longer be able to approve advertising or any mention related to a tobacco brand or personality arising from sponsorship of an event.
The revised law will be named Tobacco (Control of Advertisement and Sale) Act instead of Smoking (Control of Advertisements and Sale of Tobacco) Act to take into account a wider range of products and the new ways in which tobacco can be used.
Cigarillos, which are smaller cigars, are also coming under closer scrutiny. They will be required to be sold in packs of a minimum of 20 sticks. Registered medicinal products, however, will be excluded from the Act.
Some of the amendments will bring Singapore in compliance with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Tobacco products whose health effects are falsely labelled or misleadingly packaged will not be allowed and will be an offence. Food or other products which resemble tobacco products or come in similar packages will also be prohibited.
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