If you're turning 18 on Jan. 1, 2019, sorry, but you still cannot smoke.
This is so as the minimum legal age for smoking in Singapore will be raised to 19 years old from Jan 1, 2019.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a reminder on Friday, Dec. 28, a few days to go before the new rule kicks in.
MOH said this is part of a planned move to progressively raise the minimum legal age for smoking to 21 years old by 2021.
And it appears some at the cusp of adulthood will be chasing after a moving target as the legal age keeps increasing until 2021.
The minimum age will be raised to 20 years old on Jan. 1, 2020, and then 21 years old on Jan. 1, 2021.
The new laws were debated and passed in Parliament in November 2017.
“It aims to prevent youth from picking up smoking by limiting access to tobacco products, and to further de-normalise smoking particularly for those below 21,” MOH said.
Individuals under the minimum legal age are not allowed to buy, use, possess, sell or supply tobacco products, according to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act.
Retailers caught may be fined up to S$5,000 for the first offence, and S$10,000 for subsequent offences, if proven to be guilty.
In addition, their tobacco retail license will also be suspended for the first offence, and revoked for subsequent offences.
Individuals who supply tobacco products to people under the minimum legal age will also face punishment.
If a person is caught buying tobacco on behalf of another who is below the minimum legal age, he or she may be fined up to S$2,500 for the first offence and S$5,000 for subsequent offences.
Those caught giving tobacco to someone under the minimum legal age may also be liable for a fine of up to S$500 for the first offence, and S$1,000 for subsequent offences.
Underage smokers caught using, buying or possessing tobacco products could be fined up to S$300.