One thing they haven’t cared so much about is the anti-vape legislation – unless, according to locals, it suited them.
The Foreign Office declared Thailand a no-go for vapers three years ago. It told prospective UK travellers: “You can’t bring vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) or refills into Thailand. These items are likely to be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. The sale or supply of e-cigarettes and similar devices is also banned, and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty. Several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporisers and e-cigarettes.”
Enforcement was carried out in a haphazard fashion over the following years. Netherlands’ Eurovision pop star Gerard Jan Joling fell afoul of the laws last year, accusing the police of corruption, and was only released once a “fine” had been paid.
Thai legislators have clung to a succession of laughable locally produced studies and a number of the most ridiculous ones emanating from the United States to justify its war on harm reduction and common-sense. Of course, the government’s stance can’t have anything to do with the fact that the country hosts a tobacco monopoly, the Tobacco Authority of Thailand.
Pattaya News reported the recent Bangkok action as cops stormed 35-yr-old Chalitpon Saardrup’s private home. It is reported as a “major raid”, but the haul was quite pathetic:
- 74 devices
- 85 atomiser heads
- 990 bottles of e-liquid
- 7 plastic bags
- 3 rolls of vaping wire
- 2 battery chargers
- 220 coils
Local sources told Planet of the Vapes that such action frequently occurs when “tea money” hasn’t been handed over to local officers, and street stalls proliferate on the streets of Thailand’s premier city.
With such a ramshackle and crooked approach to public health, no wonder pro-democracy protests are being held and Ends Cigarette Smoke Thailand is calling for openness and the responsible use of research.