Ecigs and Thailand have been though some confusing and troubled times together. A vape ban was introduced in 2014 - but you wouldn’t have known it as nobody paid any attention and carried on as before.
It wasn’t until 2017 that things took a more serious deviation from common sense. The British Foreign Office had to warn UK vapers planning on visiting the country to leave their mods and juices at home, travel agents had to issue advice to customers. People didn’t listen and arrests were made, fines handed out and ten-year prison sentences threatened.
Calls were made to reverse the ban, the End Cigarette Smoke Thailand consumer group decried Thailand’s reliance on discredited and retracted work like Stanton Glantz’s heart paper in 2020. The raids continued, more arrests were made.
Finally, some are seeing the wood for the trees.
Minister Thanakamanusorn said: “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.”
The news was welcomed by End Cigarette Smoke Thailand, Maris Karanyawat pointed to the success in the UK and New Zealand and spoke of how the Philippines is set to follow along the same journey.
The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (commonly simply referred to as The Union) is funded by anti-vape billionaire Michael Bloomberg. The Union told Thai officials that there are nine reasons for maintaining the ban:
- Electronic cigarette manufacturers target children and youths
- E-cigarettes are a source of regular smoking among children and youth
- E-cigs are dangerous and harm your health
- Nicotine is addictive and more dangerous than commonly thought
- E-cigarettes do not help you quit smoking
- E-cigarettes do more harm than good to society
- Legalising e-cigarettes would leave Thailand’s tobacco controls lagging
- Banning the sale of e-cigs is an important measure to protect children from exploitation
- Everyone should stick to a "safety first" policy, as Thai people’s lives are too valuable to risk
“Research shows that e-cigarettes do not help people stop smoking”, said The Pharmaceutical Association of Thailand. It’s pitiful that an organisation purporting to be acting in the interest of the public’s health can so shamelessly lie like this.
The positive take from this is that Bloomberg’s money has failed to work in the Philippines and, for all of the efforts expended by The Union and Bloomberg’s puppets, it appears to have failed to have lasting impact in Thailand.
Harm reduction advocates have long argued that vaping is a tanker that has left port and can’t be stopped, that truth will eventually out over the myriad of prohibitionist lies.
When we look back in the future, will this be the moment opposition to vaping began to crumble?