The National Alliance for Tobacco-Free Thailand submitted an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet committee, supporting the ban on the import and sale of e-cigarettes in Thailand.
Honorable Professor Dr. Somsri Phaosawat, president of the National Alliance for Tobacco-Free Thailand, told reporters that the network had submitted the letter to the government on April 26th with a matter to support the ban on the import and sale of electronic cigarettes.
The letter stated several supportive reasons, including studies indicating how many countries that did not impose the ban were facing a problem of an increasing rate of e-cigarette usage among children and young people. Therefore, many more countries began enacting laws prohibiting the import and sale of e-cigarettes. There are a total of 32 countries that have banned e-cigarettes, according to the World Health Organization.
“I’d like to praise Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, that he stood up to his point and prioritized public health by not supporting the import and sale of all forms of electronic cigarettes. Thai society would never move toward a smoke-free society if the government allowed electronic cigarettes in the country. Because e-cigarettes were actually a form of cigarettes,” Dr. Somsri said.
Amorn Leelarasamee, former president of the Medical Association of Thailand, said in the agreement that there was a network to support e-cigarettes, that allegedly had a connection with the tobacco industry, that was spreading news through social media, politicians, ministers, and members of the House of Representatives to convince the government to repeal the prohibition for their own benefits.
The group also reportedly distorted facts about e-cigarettes to convince people that e-cigarettes were safe products and that the government could be able to control them without affecting children and young people, according to the former president’s statement.
However, the action of the National Alliance contradicted this during a recent statement by the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister who just asked the Tobacco Control Committee to reconsider the ban, reasoning that the government should provide more choice for the public as they have rights to freely choose their preference.
He said that the sales of e-cigarettes should be legalized in order to properly collect taxes as, nowadays, smokers were buying them illegally online which could easily be found on any popular social media platform. The legalization could still be under the government control in a similar condition as regular cigarettes, he said.
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