Thai Government Thinking About Legalizing E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes could be legalized by the government in order to offer a less harmful alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, minister for digital economy and society, says he believes vaping is safer for smokers trying to quit. However, his statements have been met with fierce opposition from health campaigners, according to a Bangkok Post report.According to the minister, e-cigarettes are legal in at least 67 countries, but remain illegal in Thailand. Not only could they offer Thailand’s 10 million smokers a safer alternative, but homegrown tobacco could also be used in e-cigarettes for export, benefiting the Tobacco Authority of Thailand as well as Thai tobacco growers.According to Somsri Pausawasdi from the National Alliance for a Tobacco-Free Thailand, thousands of people die from smoking in Thailand every year.“The government and non-government sectors have been working hard to reduce the number of smokers, so legalizing e-cigarettes will only exacerbate this problem.”NATFT’s members support the existing ban on e-cigarettes and other new smoking methods as well as offering to work with the government on a regulatory framework governing these products.Ronnachai Kongsakon of the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Centre told the Bangkok Post that worldwide studies into the use of e-cigarettes indicate vaping could do more harm than good. Despite the fact that little is known about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, he claims they are not a safer alternative for smokers who want to quit.However, the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUTLD) has recommended that low-to-medium-income countries ban e-cigarettes to avoid health problems.

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