Thailand’s e-cigarette ban draws ‘smokin’ support from concerned parents

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

The ban on the import and sale of e-cigarettes in Thailand gained substantial approval, primarily from parents of students, as a recent survey conducted by the Research Centre for Social and Business Development (SAB) revealed. The majority of respondents voiced concerns over potential health risks, urging the government to keep the prohibition in place.

The SAB unveiled these results during a seminar on Wednesday, where they presented their extensive survey findings to an audience of teachers and parents. The Deputy Director of SAB, Suriyan Boontae highlighted that out of 5,582 respondents from across the country, an overwhelming 91% backed the continuation of the e-cigarette ban, believing it would reduce young people’s exposure to smoking.

The study population primarily comprised 4,087 parents of students from upper primary schools to high schools. The remaining participants were school teachers and administrators. A significant 80% of those surveyed were aware of the detrimental health impacts of smoking e-cigarettes. An equal percentage perceived e-cigarettes as a potential gateway to illicit drug use.

Asst Professor Dr Vijj Kasemsap, Director of the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Centre (TRC), seized this opportunity to address the newly formed administration. He stressed the importance of a united front from the ministries of public health, commerce and finance, and their executives, along with the Consumer Protection Commission, to uphold the ban on the import and sale of e-cigarettes.

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Further, he emphasised the role of the Royal Thai Police and local administrative agencies in enforcing the ban, given the widespread availability of e-cigarettes in brick-and-mortar shops, tourist hotspots, and online platforms. He suggested state-run awareness programmes involving parents, teachers, and media to educate the public about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and the manipulative marketing tactics employed by e-cigarette producers to entice young consumers.

The Education Ministry and state agencies should integrate into their curriculum the potential harm posed by e-cigarette smoking and the marketing strategies adopted by e-cigarette manufacturers to attract young customers, Dr Vijj added. He also advocated for instilling a social value in young people to resist e-cigarettes.

Echoing Dr Vijj’s sentiments, the President of the Congress of Parents and Teachers in Thailand (CPTT), Niwat Nakawet proposed that encouraging families to condemn e-cigarettes would foster mental immunity among children.

The Director of the Ministry of Education’s Safety Centre, Chana Summat and the President of The Royal College of Paediatricians of Thailand, Somsak Lolekha both expressed their support for the suppression of e-cigarettes within educational establishments, Bangkok Post reported.

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Atima Homtientong

Atima is a dedicated news writer living in Bangkok. With a degree from Mahidol University, she focuses on reporting key issues and happenings around the country. In her off time, Atima enjoys writing and producing music.

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