Singapore became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
Smoking is prohibited in shops, universities and vocational facilities, cultural facilities, and hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Although smoking is prohibited in some indoor public places and workplaces, designated smoking areas can be established in many workplaces, government buildings, hawker centers, and public transport facilities, among others.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Virtually all advertising of tobacco products is banned, with “advertising” defined very broadly to encompass most forms of direct and indirect advertising and promotion. Point of sale product display is prohibited at most points of retail sale, although specialist tobacconists and certain duty-free shops are exempt. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship, although the publicity of such sponsorship is prohibited under the general ban on tobacco advertising.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
Rotating combined text and picture health warnings must cover at least 50 percent of each of the two principal display areas. On smokeless tobacco products, text-only warnings must occupy at least 50 percent of each of the two principal display areas. Misleading packaging and labeling, including terms such as “light” and “low-tar” and other signs, is prohibited.
Plain packaging will be required beginning July 1, 2020. In addition, the size of the health warnings will increase to 75 percent of each of the two principal display areas.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law does not grant the authority to regulate the contents of cigarettes. The law does not require that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products via vending machines and the internet. The law also prohibits the sale of single cigarettes, small packets of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and waterpipe tobacco. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
The law bans the retail sale; use; and advertising, promotion and sponsorship of e-cigarettes.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
Two primary pieces of legislation govern tobacco control in Singapore. First, the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act authorizes the National Environmental Agency (NEA) to designate places and public vehicles as smoke free. The NEA issued the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Notification identifying smoke free public places and transport, in addition to establishing duties, enforcement powers, and penalties. The Notification has been amended several times. Other regulations and laws further develop the definitions, penalties, and the duties associated with restrictions on smoking in public places and on public transport.
The second primary piece of tobacco control legislation is the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act. This law regulates tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and tobacco product packaging and labeling. This law has been amended several times, most recently in 2019. Several other laws and regulations supply additional authority regulating these policy areas. The Info-communications Media Development Authority has issued numerous codes of practice that regulate programming and advertising through various media outlets. In addition, regulations have been issued concerning topics such as: advertisements in foreign newspapers, licensing requirements for the importation and sale of tobacco, point of sale product display ban (and exemptions from the ban), and the required text and pictures in health warning messages to be displayed on tobacco products. These implementing regulations include the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) Regulations 2012, which establish the requirements for health warnings and revoke the previous requirements contained in the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) Regulations that were issued in 2003 and amended in 2006. On July 1, 2020, the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) Regulations 2012 will be replaced by the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Appearance, Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2019, which will also require plain packaging.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff. No in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts reviewed our analysis.