A recent survey conducted at the annual Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) in Warsaw, ranked Thailand as the worst country in the world to be an e-cigarette user in, and Australia the second worst.
“Thailand has a draconian approach with tourists as well as local people regularly getting arrested for vaping. Police often search vehicles at roadblocks for e-cigarettes and then use them to extract fines. This is not just terrible for Thai smokers who want to quit but also makes it a country to avoid for the tens of millions of tourists and business people around the world who vape,” said Asa Ace Saligupta who runs the Ends Cigarette Smoke Thailand consumer group earlier this year.
Last month the group called for this ban to be lifted and for reasonable regulations to be put in its place. The ESCT pointed out that legalizing e-cigarettes would be beneficial in multiple ways. Firstly it would equate to more tax revenue for the government, and secondly it would improve Thailand’s image after infamous cases of tourists being fined for vaping.
Different fines for different devices
However, in response to several complaints and suggestions such as the above, last Thursday the Excise Department director-general Patchara Anuntasilpa, said that the Commerce Ministry had enforced a ban on e-cigarettes due to health concerns raised by the Public Health Ministry.
Patchara warned that anyone caught possessing “cigalikes”, would be fined 6,800 baht per carton, whilst selling them would incur a hefty fine of 12,000 baht per carton. The director general did not mention fines for e-cigarettes/vaporizers’ possession, however the Customs Act states that anyone caught in possession of the devices would incur fines four times their prices, and/or face a jail term up to 10 years.
Read Further: Bangkok Post