Thailand May Legalize E-Cigarettes
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
For years, Thailand has had one of the strictest bans on electronic cigarettes, with severe penalties for those caught importing, exporting, selling, or using e-cigarette products. However, there is hope for change as the country is now considering legalizing these devices. In November 2014, Thailand banned all e-cigarettes, leading to the worst user experience in the world, according to a survey conducted at the Global Nicotine Forum (GFN) in Warsaw, with Australia coming in second. The penalties for breaking the law include equipment confiscation, fines, and even imprisonment.
While the strict laws may have been effective in discouraging e-cigarette use in the past, the country's harsh stance on vaping is now becoming a growing inconvenience for millions of tourists and business people who use e-cigarettes. Many have been fined or arrested for using the devices in the country, including those who use e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.
However, the Tobacco Association of Thailand has recently announced plans to legalize e-cigarettes, and the director of Ends Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST), Saligupta, expressed confidence that the Thai parliament would pass a bill legalizing e-cigarettes after the general election in May. Currently, most government officials and the public are in favor of lifting the ban on e-cigarettes. Groups such as the ECST have been working with government officials to legalize and regulate vaping. This is great news for those who want to quit smoking and for the tens of millions of tourists and business people who have been inconvenienced by the current ban.
Thai MP Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn stated that e-cigarettes could be used as a safer alternative for those who are unable to quit smoking. He also believes that local tobacco growers and Thailand's Tobacco Authority would benefit greatly from the e-cigarette industry, transforming it into a more sustainable industry. The Thai Tobacco Association also believes that legalizing e-cigarettes could help the government strengthen regulations and provide better protection for consumers, including strictly regulating the age of buyers.
At present, Thailand's e-cigarette regulation bill is awaiting discussion and approval by Parliament.
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