The War on Vaping in Singapore and Asia

As of February 1st, 2018, vaping and other e-cigarettes will be outlawed across the country. Who’s to blame and what are they trying to achieve?


As vaping gains traction and increases in popularity around the world, it’s always surprising to see the opposite side of a story. As governments in the United Kingdom move towards e-cigarettes as a potential tool to help smokers quit smoking, some governments like Singapore move in completely the opposite direction. As of February 1st, 2018, it will be illegal for locals and tourists to own or use an e-cigarette or vaporizer.


The new laws cover the possession, purchase or use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers in Singapore and come along with a hefty USD 1,500 fine. The importation of vaping products and e-cigarettes has been illegal since August 1st, 2016 and comes with a hefty $10,000 fine and six months in prison. For locals and tourists, it’s important that you know and understands the rules about vaping before you visit a new country. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and often tourists and visitors face much more scrutiny than the locals. Before you travel, check the rules of regulations of each country you’re going to be visiting or transiting through.


Singapore has strict laws in place to help maintain the image of a safe and clean place for tourists to visit and people to live. They strict laws governing drug sale, importation, possession and even having drugs in your system is a criminal offense. They also have strict punishment banning the use of chewing gum or bubble gum, jaywalking, spitting and graffiti.


The World Health Organization has a lot to answer for when it comes to the laws surrounding vaping and the use of e-cigarettes. There cautious approach to e-cigarettes is not due to specific scientific studies, rather the lack of long-term studies which have been undertaken.


Q: So, are they right or wrong? A: There is some difference of opinion on how to interpret the science. But the main disagreement is over what to do in terms of regulation and what regulation can achieve, given that current scientific evidence on e-cigarettes is limited. Our view is that regulation should bring the best out of any product while minimizing the worst: a very difficult balance to achieve. In this case, probably, there is no clear right or wrong.


That is a quote taken directly from the WHO discussion on e-cigarettes. There is no clear evidence either way about e-cigarettes and the dangers associated with them, but after what happened with traditional cigarettes, many governments are quite scared about supporting any product which contains nicotine.


There is a war brewing between e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco companies. With tobacco products worth an estimated 600 billion dollars per year, there’s quite a lot at stake. Another interesting party which has been influencing e-cigarette legislation is traditional nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products and companies. Quitting smoking is another huge industry largely owned and operated by big pharmaceutical companies. Patches, pills, creams, chewing gums and much more generate huge incomes annually for pharmaceutical companies around the world. Tax revenue generated by cigarettes and the problems associated with traditional cigarettes has governments erring on the side of caution, or profit, but either way, it spells trouble for vaping.

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04 Jun 2018


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