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Singapore: New rule for cigarettes

Categories: East Asia, Singapore, Citizen Media, Economics & Business, Governance, Health, Law, Youth

Singapore Customs announced [1] yesterday that they are taking extra strides against illegal cigarette smoking. Beginning Jan. 1, 2009, in addition to the graphic warning labels that already line the shelves of 7-11s, every cigarette in Singapore will need to be marked with the letters SDPC (which stands for Singapore Duty-Paid Cigarette). Bloggers – smokers and nonsmokers – react.

Specifications from Singapore Customs of marks on legal cigarettes.The Singapore Customs image (left) of what these marked cigarettes will look like is showing up [2] on many blogs [3].

Tong’s Blog does the math [4]:

This means that if anyone, ANYONE that is found in any corners of singapore buy,sell or smoke unpaid taxes cigarettes will be FINED $500. This is for first time offender.

For two or more, once you are charge on court and it's successful you will be fined 20 times.

$500×20= $10000

Carrot Asylum does more math [5]:

I pay S$11.60 for a pack of Dunhill Frost in Singapore and MYR$6 (S$3 approx) in Malaysia, if I remember correctly.

I'm sure Malaysia would have also imposed a duty on the cigs and MYR$6 is definitely not the cost price. It has to be a lot cheaper. For the sake of argument, let's just say that the cost price of a pack is S$2 and the retailer marked each pack up by $1. That means S$8.60 are duty fees.

Memoirs of Bra (a Singapore blog who responds to the Interests section of his Blogger profile with, “As in real interest? Smoking.”) offers tips to the counterfeiters [6] who give Singaporeans a cheaper alternative to hefty duties on cigarettes:

Contraband suppliers pls take note.
The words are 3mm in length.
Font is Arial. Remember to Caps Lock.
Pls manufacture accordingly.

James Soh of Living in Singapore Today takes the health-conscious perspective [7]:

Well, if you happened to be a smoker, better clear your stock now and make sure those packs you buy from 1st January 2009 has the “SDPC” stamp.

Or better still, why not take this chance to quit smoking. It’s expansive, hurts your health and others around you and you need to follow a whole list of rules just to light up a stick anyway. So think about it, quitting smoking is not that difficult if you really want to do it.