The director of a pro-e-cigarette group in Thailand believes legalizing the activity would not only lead to more control over vaping amongst the kingdom’s youth but make it safer than the dreaded cancer stick.
A survey conducted by the National Statistical Office of Thailand last year found more than half of the kingdom’s 80,000 e-cigarette smokers were people aged between 15 to 24.
With that survey in mind, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul earlier this month stressed the need to continue banning e-cigarette imports to protect the nation’s teenagers from vaping health risks.
The Director of ENDS Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST), Asa Saligupta, disagreed. He stressed the ongoing ban is only going to make it worse.
“Driving vaping underground only makes it more attractive to young people. Further, a total absence of regulatory control enables the black market to thrive with no product safety standards whatsoever. Vaping bans are not a solution nor are they sustainable.”
Saligupta made known that draft legislation is already available to Parliament and that it will make nicotine products much safer if regulated. He added that politicians on both sides of the house and the public remain supportive of vaping and tackling Thailand’s smoking epidemic.
“Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) advocates will keep quietly working behind the scenes. Regulation will give consumers better protection, encourage more smokers to quit deadly cigarettes, and ensure we have much better control over youth vaping with a strict purchase age.
“Smoking kills about 50,000 Thai people every year. Continuing Thailand’s harsh ban and penalties on vape shops and their products will only mean more smoking-related illnesses and premature deaths. It’s crazy when legalising and regulating vaping now have widespread support across Thailand.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) branded e-cigarettes “harmful” and warned they should be better regulated to protect children and teenagers. Saligupta believes the rest of the world should not follow the WHO recommendations adopted by some 70 nations because they are misleading.
“All we ask is that Thailand follows the evidence. Unfortunately, our country sits among an increasingly isolated crowd which continues to follow the WHO’s totally discredited advice. In reality, vaping is the most successful smoking cessation tool we have and is miles safer than smoking cigarettes. As a reformed smoker, vaping has simply saved my life. Legal and regulated access to e-cigarettes is now well overdue.”
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) noted Asia is making great strides in moving away from tobacco-based cigarettes and switching to safer nicotine products.
Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA Nancy Loucas said…
“The Philippines has recently lifted its vaping ban, regulating the importation, manufacture, sale, and marketing of vaping products. Thailand will get there thanks to the sheer weight of scientific evidence and the hard work of THR advocates like ECST.”
The Right2Switch petition urging the WHO to respect consumer rights has now been signed by over 10,000 people. It can be viewed and signed HERE.
CAPHRA is calling on those who’ve quit cigarettes through smoke-free nicotine alternatives to tell their story HERE.
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