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MOH, HPB, HSA consider ban of point-of-sale displays of tobacco products

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH), Health Promotion Board (HPB) and Health Sciences Authority (HSA) will be holding a public consultation to seek views from the public from Jun 25 to Jul 24, 2015 on proposed amendments to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act (TCASA), MOH announced in a media release on Thursday (Jun 25).

The Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act prohibits advertisements, promotions and sponsorships relating to tobacco products and their use, controls the use of tobacco products by young persons, as well as regulates the sale, packaging and trade description of tobacco products, according to MOH.

MOH, HPB and HSA are proposing the following amendments to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act:

To prohibit point-of-sale displays (POSD) of tobacco products

Under the proposed ban, tobacco retailers will be required to keep tobacco products out of patrons’ direct line of sight, in permanent, self-closing and opaque storage units within their stores. Penalties such as fines, will be imposed if retailers do not comply with the requirements in the regulations.

The POSD ban aims to reduce exposure of non-smokers to tobacco products. It also aims to reduce impulse purchases of tobacco products, which may help smokers who are trying to stub out their smoking habits.

Make further amendments relating to the POSD ban

The Act will be amended to allow tobacco retailers to show text-only price lists of tobacco products to customers upon request. This is so customers will not need to request to view the tobacco products within the storage units for an extended period of time, reducing the period which other customers are exposed to tobacco.

Additionally, Section 13 of the Act will be amended to allow the Government to standardize and prescribe specifications for the visual characteristics of “No Sale to Minors” signage used by retailers.

Make other technical and administrative amendments

A number of administrative and technical amendments are proposed to streamline operational and enforcements aspects of the Act, to update the Act for better control of imitation tobacco products and tobacco promotions, advertisements and sponsorship, and to fine-tune the existing law.

MOH previously sought feedback on the above measures through a public consultation in Jun 2013, it said. Trade engagement sessions with tobacco retailers were also conducted in November 2014, to address their potential concerns with the introduction of the POSD ban.

The Tobacco (Control of Advertisement and Sale) Act will be amended after the public consultation and engagement sessions, according to the release.

The public can submit feedback on the proposed amendments to the Act using this form online. All feedback should reach MOH by 5pm on Jul 24.

– CNA/dl

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