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Singapore lifts 12-year chewing gum ban

Singapore chewing gum lovers rejoiced on Wednesday after the city state lifted draconian laws prohibiting gum consumption

Singapore chewing gum enthusiasts rejoiced on Wednesday after the city state lifted draconian laws prohibiting gum consumption and allowed controlled sales for medical purposes.

The laws were brought in 12 years ago to fight litter.

But while the law has been relaxed, gum chewing is still tightly controlled in the affluent enclave.

Those wanting to indulge the decadent habit will have to give their names and produce identification. And gum will continue to be available only at pharmacies.

Pharmacists selling to customers without identification could be jailed for up to two years and fined nearly $3,000 US.

"It's ridiculous that it's easier for 16-year-olds to visit prostitutes than it is to get chewing gum here," a student told the Associated Press.

The relaxation came in response to U.S. pressure in free trade talks.

About 19 medicinal and dental gum products including Nicorettes and Wrigley's will become available to those with proper documentation.

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