The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has asked the developers of Lobangclub to remove information on tobacco products and prices from its iPhone app that offers information on deals contributed by shoppers.
In an e-mail to users, Lobangclub founder Shen Guyi said he was contacted by a HSA officer who warned him that it is illegal to advertise tobacco in Singapore.
As Lobangclub has up to today to remove all tobacco related material from the app, Shen urged users to stop contributing tobacco related deals.
“I am asking all the members of Lobangclub, to please do not add any more tobacco/cigarette related products and prices anymore,” Shen urged.
“I know that there was a thriving community of tobacco lobang hunters who had found all sorts of lobangs on cigarettes, but from today onwards, we can no longer accept tobacco lobangs,” he said.
Lobangclub was recently named as Asia’s most valuable app in the Asia’s Top 50 Apps Awards. It includes deals on over 500,000 products in Singapore.
Tobacco advertising is banned in Singapore under the Smoking (Control of Advertisements and Sale of Tobacco) Act. Offenders are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
Shen’s e-mail is reproduced here:
Today is very scary day.
I was working non-stop throughout the night testing some new features for the next version of lobangclub, and just as I was going home in the morning, my iPhone suddenly ran.
“Hello ahh, may I speak to Guyi Shen”, the raspy voice on the other end said.
“It is I”, I tiredly mouthed into the phone
“I am from the HSA, did you know that it is illegal to advertise tobacco in Singapore?”, inquired the man on the other end of the phone.
“errr, hmmmm, errr…” I was speechless.
“You have until the end of today to remove all tobacco related material from lobangclub”, with that, the phone call was over.
So I am asking all the members of lobangclub, to please do not add any more tobacco/cigarette related products and prices anymore. I know that there was a thriving community of tobacco lobang hunters who had found all sorts of lobangs on cigarettes, but from today onwards, we can no longer accept tobacco lobangs.
The HSA(Health Sciences Authority) is the body in charge of enforcing the tobacco control act, and they have decided that we cannot allow anymore tobacco related prices/products to be added anymore.
So from today onwards, we will have to delete any tobacco related products/pictures/prices.
I thank you for helping me with this and don’t kena get me in further trouble with the HSA.