From Jan. 1, 2009, all duty-paid cigarettes sold in Singapore will be marked with the letters "SDPC" which stands for Singapore Duty-Paid Cigarettes, Singapore Customs announced on Wednesday.
This new requirement is part of Singapore Customs' effort to curb the selling and buying of illegal cigarettes.
Once this new ruling kicks off, all unmarked cigarettes sold here would be deemed illegal, said the Customs in a statement.
This means that anyone found buying, selling or smoking cigarettes without the "SDPC" marking could be jailed or fined. For every packet of duty-unpaid cigarettes, the offender can be fined 500 Singapore dollars (350 U.S. dollars).
According to the Customs, Singapore is the first country to implement this regulation.
"The availability of cheap duty-unpaid cigarettes will hamper our national effort to discourage smoking", said Fong Yong Kian, director-general of Customs.
He added that the marking will serve as deterrence against the peddling and buying of contraband cigarettes and help Singapore officers in the enforcement efforts.