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Singapore's ban on e-cigarettes: Loss of tax revenue from tobacco not a factor, says DPM Lawrence Wong

DPM Wong, who is also Finance Minister, said that the government has no plans to change its current approach to e-cigarettes.

Cigarette butts and ash on a public ash tray, illustrating a story on tobacco tax and e-cigarettes.
Singapore's ban on e-cigarettes: Loss of tax revenue from tobacco not a factor, says DPM Lawrence Wong. (PHOTO: ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP) (ROSLAN RAHMAN via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – The potential loss in revenue from tobacco tax was not a factor in the government's decision to ban the use of e-cigarettes in 2018, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

In his reply to a question by Workers' Party and Sengkang Member of Parliament Assoc Prof Jamus Lim in Parliament on Wednesday (10 January), Wong, who is also the Minister for Finance, said, "The Government’s decision to ban the use of e-cigarettes in 2018 was based on public health considerations, to protect our population from the harms of these products. The potential loss in tobacco tax revenue from the reduced consumption of tobacco products was not a factor in this decision."

...our priority is to protect the health of our population and prevent e-cigarettes from causing harm to our people, especially to younger Singaporeans.Lawrence Wong

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Prof Lim had asked whether the potential loss in tobacco tax revenue has been a factor in the decision by the government to ban e-cigarettes, and what are the practical limitations to introducing an equivalent nicotine tax on e-cigarette products, were they to be made legal.

Ban on e-cigarettes to protect health of population

Wong added that if the government were to legalise and tax e-cigarettes, "the challenges would be similar to those we encounter for cigarettes and other tobacco products today".

"In any case, the government has no plans to change our current approach, as our priority is to protect the health of our population and prevent e-cigarettes from causing harm to our people, especially to younger Singaporeans," Wong said.

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