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Government mulls legalising e-cigarettes to reduce number of cigarette smokers

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Lindsay Fox

A Thai government ministry is discussing the legalisation of e-cigarettes in a bid to reduce the number of cigarette smokers in the country. According to a Nation Thailand report, the Digital Economy and Society Ministry wants to be able to offer smokers an alternative to cigarettes.

The development has been welcomed by Asa Salikupt from the End Cigarette Smoke Thailand network. He says the ECST coalition supports DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn as he considers making e-cigarettes legal. The ECST says that not only can e-cigarettes offer smokers a safe alternative, the Excise Department can also benefit from a tax on the products. Asa says he hopes the discussions are transparent and that the working group considers public opinion and is open to receiving advice from e-cigarette users.

  Thailand sets sights on "wealthy foreign tourists" to recover economy

“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.”

Asa’s fellow ECST member, Maris Karanyawat, says there are now many studies available that prove that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. He says this is reflected by the policies of some countries, pointing out that Britain, New Zealand, and the Philippines are likely to promote e-cigarette usage for those unable to quit smoking cold turkey.

“More than 70 countries have legalised e-cigarettes as it can reduce the number of smokers.”

Meanwhile, Nation Thailand reports that the Move Forward MP Taopiphop Limjittrakorn has said he would back a proposal to make e-cigarettes legal and has discussed the matter with Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit. He too cites lost tax revenue, the lack of a safer alternative for cigarette smokers, and a missed opportunity for the Tobacco Authority of Thailand to make money from the legalisation of e-cigarettes and associated products.

  Alleged motorbike cart thieves arrested in Chon Buri

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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