Ms Rahayu said HSA received 1,700, 1,500 and 2,070 pieces of vaping feedback from the public and other agencies in 2021, 2022, and 2023 respectively. 

On the size of the HSA team, Ms Rahayu noted that HSA was primarily a scientific agency with a “modestly-sized” enforcement team, but that it was supported by other agencies such as the National Environment Agency (NEA), National Parks Board and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. 

“Our schools also take an active approach to prevent students from picking up the habit of vaping,” said Ms Rahayu, who is also Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Law. 

CNA reported in December last year that youths were starting to pick up the habit of vaping from as early as primary school, with sellers targeting younger people. 

In the same month, the Ministry of Health announced a multi-agency effort to step up vaping enforcement and education. 

This included working with enforcement authorities to disrupt the sales and supply of vapes at borders, improving detection and removal of sales and advertisements of vapes online, and enhancing enforcement within the community, including schools.  

Since Dec 1, 2023, enforcement officers from the NEA have been empowered to take action against those who use or possess vapes, with cases referred to HSA. Cases which require a notice of composition to be issued are handled by HSA.

Supplementary questions centred on how multi-agency efforts will look like going forward. 

Mr Ang asked if the size of the HSA enforcement team will grow given the increasing number of violations, while MP Yip Hon Weng (PAP-Yio Chu Kang) asked if more agencies will come on board and if HSA will continue to take the lead. 

In response, Ms Rahayu said the issue had to looked at from a “multi-pronged perspective” which included outsourcing enforcement measures to other agencies. 

“So what happens is that the agencies will actually cross-enforce, meaning that if there are agencies that take up and pick up some of these cases of vaping, it is referred to HSA, and HSA can then issue the necessary notice of composition.”

Other authorities, such as the Ministry of Communications and Information, look at upstream measures targeted at curbing the sale of products online. 

However she pointed out that the authorities needed to figure out the best approach and to deploy resources efficiently rather than simply bringing all agencies on board. 

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