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Thai Minister Champions Tobacco

The Thai Public Health Minister pushes back against legalising vaping in order to protect the tobacco growing industry

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Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has spoken out against legalising vaping. Despite being called upon to adopt an evidence-based approach to regulation, the minister has been subjected to pressure from conservative health groups. He has stated that ecigs should remain illegal in order to protect farmers and the tobacco growing industry.

Currently, the act of vaping in Thailand can lead to arrest, fines, and possible imprisonment.

Public Health Minister Charnvirakul addressed the board members of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation and told them: “The ministry will not support the legalisation of e-cigarettes.”

Charnvirakul has been given the facts about teen vaping but still relied on anecdotal statements regarding trends and fictional fears over legalising vape sales to adults.

The Department of Disease Control has also been instructed to coordinate with police to come up with a solution in preventing e-cigarettes from becoming more popular in the future,” he told them.

ThaiHealth’s Dr Surachet Satitniramai said: “E-cigarettes will have a widespread effect on tobacco farmers in the country. As the materials of e-cigarettes don’t consist of tobacco but chemicals, farmers will suffer income loss. It also affects public health and the government’s plan in steering the economy for agricultural groups.”

Health Minister Charnvirakul’s statement received support from the United Nations, which stated: “The United Nations expresses full support for Thailand’s ban of electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, and urges the Government to take strong measures, as appropriate to the national context, to protect the people in Thailand, especially youth from the harms of tobacco use.”

In a letter to the Prime Minister of Thailand, the United Nations outrageously lied: “Evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are harmful to health and are not safe. E-cigarettes put young people at risk of lifelong nicotine addiction and can turn current users into dual users.

Renaud Meyer, UN Resident Coordinator ad interim to Thailand, added: “E-cigarettes pose a threat to Thailand’s tobacco control efforts and can reverse gains made over many decades. Especially worrying is the increasing use of e-cigarettes among adolescents aged 13-15 in recent years from 3.3 per cent in 2015 to 8.1 per cent in 2021.”

Dr Renu Garg, a World Health Organisation representative to Thailand, commended recent efforts in tobacco control and added a call to continued ignorance and prohibition: “It is recommended to further enact comprehensive evidence-based tobacco control measures to reduce nicotine addiction and tobacco use, to fulfil Thailand’s obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”

She added a denial about vaping being 95% safer, saying: “The World Health Organisation has never stated that e-cigarettes are 95 per cent less harmful to health than conventional cigarettes.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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