DES Ministry’s eyes legalising e-cigarettes in bid to cut down on cigarette smokers
The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry on Friday set up a working group to see if electronic cigarettes can be legalised as an alternative for smokers.
Asa Salikupt, from the End Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST) network, said the network supports DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn’s plan to legalise e-cigarettes and hopes the working group will be transparent, listen to public opinions and allow e-cigarette users to provide information.
"We believe the legalisation of e-cigarettes will help Thailand achieve the goal of reducing cigarette smokers and protecting non-smokers from the danger of second-hand smoke,” he said.
He also pointed out that the Excise Department can introduce an e-cigarette tax once it’s legalised.
Maris Karanyawat, also from ECST, said Britain, New Zealand and the Philippines are likely to promote the use of e-cigarettes as it can reduce the consumption of harmful substances and help those who cannot quit smoking cold turkey.
He added that many studies and foreign policies the network has cited so far have proved that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco.
"More than 70 countries have legalised e-cigarettes as it can reduce the number of smokers," Maris added.
Earlier this week, Move Forward’s Bangkok MP Taopiphop Limjittrakorn said in a Facebook post that he backs the legalisation of e-cigarettes and that he had spoken to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit about the steps that should be taken.
He pointed out that by banning e-cigarettes the government is losing out on earning tax revenue, people are losing access to a safer alternative and the Tobacco Authority of Thailand is losing a chance to make money.
He also promised to follow the issue closely and work towards making smokers’ dreams come true.