As part of a campaign to drive home the anti-illegal cigarette message, Singapore Customs has launched a new round of 25 roadshows, five times more than last year.
These roadshows are part of the “Don’t Get Burnt” campaign, with the first one being held at Causeway Point in Woodlands, which is a hotspot for illegal cigarette activities says Singapore Customs.
From now till July next year, it will travel to other hotspots around Singapore on a special truck that transforms into a public exhibition area.
The truck has been on its rounds since August, displaying only a big mysterious “burn mark” aimed at arousing public curiosity.
Mr Kang Swee Wan, Deputy Suppression and Community Engagement Officer with Singapore Customs, says people have appreciated the outreach efforts.
“Actually more and more people [are] coming forward to give tip-offs [as they know that these are] illegal activities that harm their families in the long run…So they are very happy to come forward. They also don’t want their family members to get involved.”
It also hopes to bring the roadshow truck to worker dormitories, companies and schools so as to widen their reach and encourage more people to report illegal cigarette activities.
According to Singapore Customs, the public has provided 910 tip-offs in the first seven months of this year and this has led to an increase in the number of peddlers caught – from 358 in the first seven months of 2009, to 396 over the same period this year.
The next roadshow will be held in Little India on 27th November.
A survey by Singapore Customs from December 2009 to January 2010 showed that 92 percent of those polled are aware of the consequences of buying illegal cigarettes and 85 percent of the 10,000 surveyed thought the chances of getting caught with illegal cigarettes was also high.
Illegal cigarette activities can be reported by calling the Singapore Customs hotline at 1800-233-0000.