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E-cig campaigners respond to story of a Bangkok man being arrested for selling e-cigarettes

The Thaiger

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E-cig campaigners respond to story of a Bangkok man being arrested for selling e-cigarettes | The Thaiger
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Letter to the Editor, published in full.

“I’ve seen the news article posted in your website yesterday…

Bangkok man arrested for selling e-cigarettes, vaping fluid

…talking about a man who got arrested for selling e-cigarettes. This is a persisting problem caused by consumer demand. smokers and users are aware that the products are less harmful thus they stop smoking and change to e-cigarettes. However, the products are banned – leaving them no choice but to search for illegal products. The government should accept the truth and reconsider the ban. And that is what our group, ECST, have requested for.

ECST is an e-cig consumer coalition formed by 12 e-cig influencers in Thailand in 2016. All of the founders are either youtubers or administrators of popular fan pages on Facebook with more than 10,000 followers each.

Last week, ECST led by myself, Asa Saligupta, met with the Ombudsman to discuss the inappropriate process of e-cigarettes prohibition in Thailand. The meeting also joined by representatives from MOPH, MOC, ThaiHealth. Results from the meeting are positive and will benefit the users and smokers in Thailand.

I am sharing below a press release talking about the discussion with the ombudsman and next steps proposed during the meeting for your consideration please. I am sure this is good news smokers and users in Thailand want to hear.

The Ombudsman advises government agencies to listen to the voices of its citizens concerning e-cigs prohibition

E-cigarette user group reveals that the Office of the Ombudsman suggested for the relevant government agencies to listen to the public’s voice impartially, and to listen to reasons from all parties and from various dimensions in the case of complaints regarding the unfair ban on e-cigarettes.

On August 17, Mr. Asa Saligupta and Mr. Maris Karanyawat, representatives of the End Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST) and the admin of the Facebook page “What is e-cigarette”, attended the meeting at the Office of the Ombudsman regarding the consideration on the complaints about the ban on sales and import of e-cigarettes. Relevant agencies such as Department of Foreign Trade, Office of the Consumer Protection Board, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, and the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center (TRC) also attended the meeting. In which previously, the Ministry of Commerce had confirmed the resolution to keep the ban on e-cigarettes, citing TRC’s report earlier this year amid doubts among people affected by the ban.

“The current ban on e-cigarettes is a violation of the people’s right to access safer alternative products and accurate information about e-cigarettes. This is considered to be an unfair practice of deliberately refraining from performing the duty of inspecting information presented from all sides. We therefore, have requested justice from the Office of the Ombudsman to provide fairness to e-cigarette users in the country.”

“We estimates that there are currently over 500,000 e-cigarette users nationwide, plus 11 million smokers that are looking for a less harmful alternative to replace smoking. We are glad that the Ombudsman remains an institution that the people in suffering can depend on in finding a just and transparent solution to the problem. Hence, the most important key is the people’s participation and listening to the opinions of the public, especially e-cigarette users, which we are considered to be directly impacted by the ban. ” said Mr. Asa, representative of ECST.

“Findings from various reliable agencies such as the UK, the US, and many other European countries concluded that e-cigarettes generate less harmful chemicals. We have tried to bring this information to both the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Public Health, but the presented information has never been considered to make amendments on the ban.

Previously, the committee of the Ministry of Commerce has assigned the TRC to conduct study on e-cigarettes, but the result of the studies instead confirms that the ban is appropriate without taking into account the data from the opposing sides. Additionally, it also obstructs the participation of people who have different points of view, which is against the intention of the legislation and the study of the achievement of the law. The ban has been in place for 5 years, both the country and the people have not benefited at all”.

Mr. Maris, another representative from ECST, added that “Thailand’s e-cigarette ban goes against foreign guidelines that focuses on the importance of research and scientific approaches. For example, Hong Kong and New Zealand that has recently considered control regulations on alternative products, including e-cigarettes. In which there was an open public hearing to listen to opinions from the people as well as taking into consideration results from scientific studies that include information on the advantages and disadvantages, impact on health, society, and economy. Either right or wrong, the society deserve to know the science and whole truth, and not distorted inaccurate information like nowadays”.

E-cigarettes products are prohibited from being imported and distributed in the Kingdom of Thailand according to the Ministry of Commerce announcement in 2014, and the prohibition on sale and service according to the announcement of Office of the Consumer Protection Board in 2015. However, currently there are still more than 500,000 e-cigarette users who are secretly selling and buying through illegal channels such as the underground markets or online stores. The market value is estimated to be more than 6 billion baht annually.”

“The government cannot collect the tax on these products as income for the State, creating burden on the government agencies that have to arrest and crackdown on the illicit goods. This also creates confusion within the public about the potential of e-cigarettes. Currently, e-cigarettes are being sold widely, uncontrolled by the government, leaving opportunities for extortions by government officials, no measures to prevent youth access, plus, an increasing trend of e-cigarettes users.

“We would like to thank the Ombudsman for being the hope of the people and for giving the e-cigarette user network a chance to clarify the information as well as inviting all parties to discuss in order to be fair to e-cigarette users and to find appropriate solutions together.”

“We believe that good regulation must not restrict the rights of adults who want access to less harmful alternative products, and at the same time measures to protect children and youths from accessing these products. This is a guideline that more than 60 countries around the world use to regulate the product according to the law. We hope that the committee of the Ministry of Commerce and the TRC’s subsequent reviews will be impartial and take into account the impacts on every group of individuals”.

Best

Asa Saligupta”

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Crime

Sarasas school teacher charged with assault for allegedly abusing students

Caitlin Ashworth

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Sarasas school teacher charged with assault for allegedly abusing students | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Prachachat

The Nonthaburi teacher, who allegedly beat and mistreated kindergarten students, faces charges of physical assault and violating the Child Protection Act. The charges follow reports of abuse after classroom surveillance camera footage from the Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School spread on the internet. Videos show a teacher, identified as Ornuma “Khru Jum” Plodprong, pushing a child to the ground, dragging another across the room and repeatedly hitting the kindergarten students.

Your comments…

• School administrators must be investigated.

• About time. This kind of abuse is the norm in Thai schools and it’s about time they did something about it.

• How about the other 3 adults who were in that room when it happens . NONE of them went forward to help that poor kid.

• Many expat teachers I came across when my daughter was still at school were ‘illegal’ & while they should accept blame, the schools which charge for expensive expat teaching should be held accountable.

Police say more charges for violating the Teachers Act could follow. They say 8 parents are also planning on pressing separate charges. Following the reports of alleged abuse, the Office of the Private Education Commission, or OPEC, set up a committee to investigate all of the 42 Sarasas private schools around Thailand.

Khru Jum, along with staff who allegedly witnessed the abuse, were fired. OPEC teamed up with the Department of Mental Health to send psychiatrists to the school to evaluate children.

Other video footage from the Sarasas school in Nonthaburi, a suburb in Bangkok, shows a male teacher grabbing a student by the arm. The teacher was identified as a 25 year old Filipino man named Marvin.

The video has sparked an online backlash and immigration officials went to the teacher’s house to check his paperwork and also checked more than 70 other foreign teachers at the school. Immigration officials have now reported that the Filipino teacher is not legal to teach in Thailand, is only on a tourist visa and down’t have a work permit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

7-Eleven delivery worker saves customer’s life

Caitlin Ashworth

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7-Eleven delivery worker saves customer’s life | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Komchadluek

7-Eleven employee reportedly saved a customer’s life who collapsed on the floor at the while taking a delivery in Bangkok’s Nong Khaem district. Wipassri Wanwichai had an asthma attack at the door and dropped to the ground, hyperventilating. The 7-Eleven delivery person Sumonsri “Tae” Pengthab called the emergency line and started giving her CPR.

“It would have been my last breath if it wasn’t for Tae. I am thankful and can say I have a good experience with 7-Eleven.”

Wipassri was taken to the hospital. The story was shared over the internet and the 2 later sat down for an interview. Tae said “clients are not gods, clients are family.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

When did Bangkok have its ‘good old days’?

The Thaiger

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When did Bangkok have its ‘good old days’? | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: packthailand.com

When did Bangkok have its golden era? Of course it depends on when you were visiting, how long you were here, where you stayed, and what you were doing at the time. But the city has certainly had some ‘eras’ in the past that people nostalgically and whimsically recall as ‘special’. Here’s a few of the responses about when Bangkok really hit its straps, when we asked people on The Thaiger Facebook page.

Everyone falls into the trap of remembering the ‘good old days’, but was there a time when Bangkok really did have a golden era?

Denny says that it was definitely in the 1970s when he first came to Bangkok with his wife. He said his friends thought it was a ‘very exotic’ choice at the time. Denny, from Massachusetts in the US, returned in the 1990s to live in the Big Mango but says it had lost a certain visceral appeal and was beginning to be ‘moulded’ as a tourist destination.

“Whilst I stood out in the 1970s no one really took much notice of me. By the 1990s some of the ‘ugly tourists’ had already made a reputation and we didn’t feel quite as welcome as we used to. Whilst in the 1970s there were still plenty of bicycles’d been completely replaced by the 1990s by the ubiquitous ‘motorcy’.

‘Simone’ said… “Late 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s, when the highest building was the Dusit Thani and the first disco was The Palace. You could just put a Motorola phone on a table at The Bubble and all girls were yours while the DJ was playing ‘One night in Bangkok’. You can write a book about those times.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

Another writer ‘Retire’ thought the golden era was a few decades earlier.

“I think Bangkok really came to life in the 60s when it started developing it’s own pop culture style in clothing, furniture, music and cinema. It sort of regressed into a bad version of everything western later or. But there was a bright, glimmering decade when Bangkok was the hip Asian city.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

‘Helmer’ and his wife were posted to Thailand as for a large foreign company in the late 50s.

“When I first visited Thailand in the late 1950s I would stand out and people would stop me in the street to take a photo with me. It was very ‘Thai’ then and very few people had any English skills at all. It was a very difficult place to live as a foreigner at that stage and things slowly improved during the 60s until we had to leave in 1969. There was no high-rise in those days and shopping was all at local markets. The only cars driving around those days were all imported and they had just started filling in the old klongs to make new roads.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

‘Malcolm’ thought the best places in Bangkok were out of the city.

“I think the late 80s in the tourist areas, then people discovered the real Thailand outside of these areas, some places are improving to this day but still not too touristy best to keep them a secret!”

‘Ray’ forecast posts from expats who would hang around the bar-girl scene at the time…

“Stand by for claims that “Thailand was so much better” when a bar girl would gush with gratitude and do cartwheels after receiving a 10 baht tip for fetching beers all afternoon and wiping down your fat, pock-marked back with an ice-cold towel.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

‘Glenda’ puts the golden era firmly in the 1970s.

“The 70’s, when we were posted there was magic. No big skyscrapers, one department store on Silom road and good shopping at small family shops. A couple of supermarkets and a great day out at what was then the weekend markets. We still visit but not what it used to be.”

‘Alicia’ first came to Bangkok in the early 2000s and recalls it as being an optimistic time for the city.

“They’d just opened the Skytrain (BTS) and the city was in its early phase of changing from ‘just another Asian city’ into a modern metropolis. I was teaching at the time, King Bhumibol was still making appearances at functions and the tourists were really starting to arrive in the millions, rather than in the thousands. Businesses seemed to be booming around that time and everything seemed happy and prosperous. It was the best five years of my life. Returning in 2017 it was a completely different city and appeared to carry the burden of a big city.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

‘Gordon’ was much more philosophical about the question…

“The “Golden Era” is relative to the age, gender, race, sexual orientation, income, social status, nationality and experience of the individual person. Hence, the Golden Era simultaneously occurs at all times past and present, and at no time ever.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The ThaigerWhen did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The ThaigerWhen did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The ThaigerWhen did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

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