Chaiwut demands an end to the ban on e-cigarettes

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2022

Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn on Friday repeated his call for the National Tobacco Control Board to review its resolution on March 28 banning imports of electronic cigarettes.

He said any control on e-cigarettes should be based on scientific evidence and actual facts about their impact on smokers’ health.

E-cigarettes are illegal in Thailand but they are widely available for sale on online shopping platforms.

He said since e-cigarettes are illegal in Thailand, there was no need for the board to ban their import.

Chaiwut said on Friday that his ministry, which supports the use of new technology, found that e-cigarettes were a flourishing online business.

Ban on imports and sales would only push e-cigarettes towards the black market, he said. He believed allowing e-cigarettes to be sold legally would earn Thailand more revenue from taxes.

The minister said it is widely believed that vaping is a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, adding that more than 70 countries allow the use of e-cigarettes.

He also described vaping as a “safer option” for people who are unable to quit smoking.

Citing data from the National Statistical Bureau, he said Thailand had more than 10 million smokers in 2021 and 52 per cent of them said they did not think of quitting.

“These people should get unbiased information about e-cigarettes that they can use in making decisions about consuming tobacco. More importantly, young people should be educated that these products are not for them,” he said.

Chaiwut said the National Tobacco Control Board had made a “wrongful resolution”, as it failed to take into account opinions of the stakeholders, as well as academic data.

“A complete ban on e-cigarettes is not the best solution for the country in the present social context,” he said.

There has been no long-term research on the health impacts of e-cigarettes, but early data shows chemicals they emit can cause lung and heart diseases, according to health experts.