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Thailand debates legalizing e-cigarettes

Thailand debates legalizing e-cigarettes

ONE of the world’s strictest countries with an outright ban on vaping is debating making it legal.

Thailand, which has some of the harshest e-cigarette regulations worldwide - with a maximum 10-year prison term for importing and possession - is considering a change in law.

Academics and vapers have now attended a potentially groundbreaking seminar this week to discuss the health benefits of e-cigarettes to help discourage smoking in the country.

The debaters agreed that the government should follow in the footsteps of the UK by legalizing vaping in a bid to stop smokers using cigarettes. They also agreed it would improve health and cause less pollution.

A ban on the import, export, sale and possession of vaping products has been in place in the country since November 2014. Anyone found breaking the law faces a hefty fine or a prison sentence of up to 10 years if convicted.

Last December two young adults in Pathum Thani made the headlines for selling vaping products via Facebook. It sparked a local petition urging law makers to review the ban whilst referring to regulations across Europe where e-cigarettes are legal.

Public Health Ministry’s Disease Control Department Dr Assadang Ruay-archin, wrongly stated at the time that vape products were as hazardous to health as regular cigarettes, since they contained nicotine and were therefore as addictive.

Now academics are calling for the government to be better informed on the benefits of vaping.
As well as agreeing on making e-cigarette possession legal, the attendees of this week’s seminar also proposed to include vape products in the country’s import system to prevent smuggling.

They also suggested setting up measures to control the purchase and the use of e-cigarettes among young smokers as well as conducting a study on the pros and cons of these devices.