Thailand’s Ministry of Health says vaping ban will not be lifted

In Thailand, a ban on the import, export, sale and possession of vaping products has been in place since November 2014. Anyone caught breaking this law was to have their products confiscated and fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted.

Despite strong opposition from local health and anti-tobacco campaigners, MP Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said last December he was exploring ways to legalize the sale of e-cigarettes. He was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying he thinks vaping could be available as a safer alternative for those struggling to quit smoking. Additionally, he said, local tobacco growers and the Tobacco Authority of Thailand would greatly benefit if the tobacco industry was transformed into a more sustainable alternative.

In January, the minister reaffirmed his position at a rally where people were campaigning for the ministry. He reiterated that legalizing e-cigarettes would allow the country to benefit from tax revenue while providing a safer option to quit smoking. He added that a working group will be set up to analyze whether e-cigarettes can be legalized for smokers looking for an alternative to help them quit.

The current ban on staying unchanged

However, it appears the current ban on the products will remain in place, as the Department of Health yesterday advised against lifting it. “Continuing the ban on all types of e-cigarettes used for vaping ‘will help protect non-smokers from health risks,’ Health Ministry Perm-Sec Kiattipoom Wongrachit said recently during a of a government council meeting on tobacco.”The ban on the sale of e-cigarettes is an important measure to protect children from victimisation,” he added.

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