The following is a press release from End Cigarette Smoke Thailand. Their statements and thoughts are their own.
ECST revealed the Philippines government emphasizing its stance on balanced tobacco control strategies, including regulatory and taxation, and would not prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in order to avoid undesirable consequences during the 9th edition of the WHO’s Framework Convention. While the United Kingdom claimed the lowest smoking rate as a result of a wide range of policies, including encouragement for e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. The group urged Thailand to follow in the footsteps of the two countries for the benefit of the country and smokers.
Asa Saligupta, a representative of End Cigarettes Smoke Thailand (ECST) and an admin of the Facebook page “what is an e-cigarette” revealed that “at the 9th conference of parties (COP 9) of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the Philippine’s Foreign Affairs Secretary called on the WHO to regain the momentum of tobacco control and consider evolving and latest scientific information in solving the global smoking problem”.
The Philippine officials acknowledged that tobacco is a source of bad health but also a source of tax revenue used to fund the state’s activities and campaign to stop smoking. However, he admitted that no extinction by extreme taxation so the country needs to balance regulation and taxation, noting that a total ban is not under consideration due to the unwanted consequences that it poses.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. added that bans would only drive operators underground and substitute smuggling. And these complex and challenging issues demand the active participation of all parties and inclusive consultations with all stakeholders.
Meanwhile, a representative from the UK Department of Health shows its support for e-cigarettes in its FCTC position. The department said over the past 20 years reduced rate of smoking has been achieved through a comprehensive set of tobacco control interventions that include high taxation, banning smoking indoors in public places, and moving smokers onto less harmful products such as regulated e-cigarettes.
Maris Karanyawat, another ECST’s representative added “the Philippines reviewed both domestic and international studies which all concluded that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than cigarettes, and recently passed the Smoke-free Environment Bill aimed at regulating e-cigarettes that will support government efforts in reducing harm for smokers. The bill also aims to protect the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, is a role model for countries that promote the use of e-cigarettes to help people stop smoking. These two countries are excellent examples of inclusivity in the discussions”.
“This is in contrast to Thailand’s policy that ignores international research that supports the usage of electronic cigarettes. To maintain the ban in place, individuals who disagree have been excluded from the discussion. These disregard the rights of smokers and users as well as the negative consequences of the ban. As a result, I’d like to encourage Thailand to realize that the prohibition on electronic cigarettes serves no purpose and to look to other countries for ideas on how to better regulate e-cigarettes in our country.”