By The Nation
“The figures are equivalent to 0.78 per cent of the country’s gross domestic products,” the foundation’s deputy manager Dr Bundit Sornpaisarn said.
He said cigarettes therefore posed a threat to sustainability.
“Smoking has also threatened the future of youth,” Bundit added.
A 2014 survey found 547 Thai youths started smoking every day, and young smokers had a higher chance of getting involved in other unhealthy habits such as drinking, drug abuse, late-night entertainment and gambling.
Disease Control Department’s deputy director general Dr Suthep Petchmark said Thailand had developed various innovative tools to control the use of tobacco.
“We have ratified the World Health Organisation – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” he said.
He pointed out that the Tobacco Control Act 2017 had already taken effect in Thailand on July 4.
The law has introduced additional measures to protect non-smokers' rights and to try and prevent youths from taking up the habit.
Key measures in the law include a ban on selling tobacco products to people aged under 20, and a ban on people aged under 18 selling tobacco products.
The measures also include a ban of selling tobacco products at religious sites, hospitals and pharmacies, all educational institutes, and public parks, zoos and amusement parks.
There is also a ban on all forms of tobacco advertising and marketing, and on tobacco businesses conducting corporate social responsibility activities.