As of 1 January 2021, the minimum legal age for smoking in Singapore was increased to 21 years. This is the final phase of the progressive adjustment where the minimum legal age of purchasing tobacco products increased from 18 to 19, 20 and 21 years starting on 1 Jan 2019 and implemented for the next two consecutive years.
In 2020, extensive home seclusion led to rising anxiety levels and thus many consumers used smoking as a way to relieve stress. This resulted in an increase in consumption of cigarettes in 2020 for the first time after years of declines.
In 2020, Singapore restricted cross-border movement as much as possible to prevent uncontrolled transmission of COVID-19. As a result, illicit trade of cigarettes was notably impacted, as most illegal dealers come to Singapore via social visit passes, which were significantly tightened during the pandemic.
With the higher minimum legal age for purchasing and consuming tobacco in Singapore, the demand for cigarettes is expected to shrink over the forecast period. Concerns of impending GST tax hikes are also shaping Singaporeans’ discretionary spending budgets, further influencing the contraction of cigarette sales in the country.
2021 was the final year in the 3-year plan by the government to raise the minimum legal age to 21 years in Singapore for the purchase and consumption of tobacco products. As tobacco consumption is the second highest contributor to ill health and premature deaths in Singapore, the government is expected to continue seeking ways to reducing smoking prevalence over the forecast period, and is considering many possible strategies.
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RETAIL SALES OF DUTY PAID CIGARETTES The definition of cigarettes for the purposes of this study is duty-paid, machine manufactured white-stick products. This does not exclude brands of cigarettes that do not use white paper but it is designed to exclude the volume of non-machine manufactured products such as bidis/beedis (India) and papirosy (Russia), and other smoking products made with tobacco but that either do not resemble cigarettes as recognised in the US or Europe, or those that are not machine manufactured. The exclusion of these products is intended to give a more accurate picture of the "true" market for cigarettes and cigars which has been distorted in official statistics and published reports because of the inclusion of hybrid products. NB Please note that due to its central importance and integration into the industry mainstream, Indonesia’s market data does include hand-rolled kreteks DUTY-FREE sales are excluded from retail sales, as are herbal cigarettes. ILLICIT TRADE CIGARETTES Not included in retail sales, but split out separately in volume terms only. Defined as non-duty paid cigarettes (includes smuggled & counterfeit/fake products combined). Legitimate cross-border sales are considered duty-paid. Sales arising from a foreign national purchasing cheaper cigarettes in bulk in a neighbouring country for personal use and exported back are attributed to the country where the purchase is made (e.g. bulk cigarette sales by British nationals in France are attributed to France).See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Cigarettes research and analysis database.
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