Pro-vaping group calls on government to legalize e-cigarettes

The director of a pro-electronic cigarette group in Thailand believes legalize activity would not only lead to more control over vaping among the youth of the kingdom, but make it surer than the dreaded stick of cancer.

A survey by Thailand’s National Statistics Office last year found that more than half of the kingdom’s 80,000 e-cigarette smokers were between the ages of 15 and 24.

With this investigation in mind, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul earlier this month stressed the need to continue banning e-cigarette imports to protect the country’s teens from the health risks of vaping.

ENDS Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST) director Asa Saligupta disagreed. He stressed that the ongoing ban would only make matters worse.

Saligupta said…

“Driving vaping underground only makes it more appealing to young people. Additionally, a complete lack of regulatory oversight allows the black market to thrive without any product safety standards. Vaping bans are not a solution and are not sustainable.

Saligupta said a bill is already before parliament that will make nicotine products much safer if regulated. He added that politicians on both sides of the house and the public remain supportive of vaping and tackling Thailand’s tobacco epidemic.

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) advocates will continue to work quietly behind the scenes. The regulations will provide consumers with better protection, encourage more smokers to quit lethal cigarettes, and ensure much better control over vaping among young people with a strict purchase age.

Smoking kills around 50,000 Thais every year. Maintaining Thailand’s ban and tough penalties on vaping products will only mean more smoking-related illnesses and premature deaths. It’s crazy when the legalization and regulation of vaping now has widespread support across Thailand.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called e-cigarettes “harmful” and warned they should be better regulated to protect children and teens. Saligupta thinks the rest of the world should not follow the WHO recommendations adopted by some 70 countries because they are misleading.

“All we ask is that Thailand follow the evidence. Sadly, our country finds itself among an increasingly isolated crowd that continues to follow the totally discredited advice of the WHO. In fact, vaping is the most effective smoking cessation tool we have and is much safer than smoking cigarettes. As a reformed smoker, vaping has quite simply saved my life. Legal and regulated access to e-cigarettes is now well behind.

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) noted that Asia is making great strides in moving away from tobacco-based cigarettes and towards safer nicotine products.

CAPHRA Executive Coordinator Nancy Loucas said…

“The Philippines recently lifted its ban on vaping, regulating the import, manufacture, sale and marketing of vaping products. Thailand will achieve this through the weight of scientific evidence and the hard work of PTH advocates like the ‘ECST.

The Right2Switch petition urging the WHO to respect consumer rights has now been signed by over 10,000 people. It can be consulted and signed HERE.

CAPHRA invites those who quit smoking with smokeless nicotine alternatives to tell their stories HERE.


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