The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry set up a working group to see if electronic cigarettes can be legalized as an alternative for smokers, reports The Nation.
Asa Salikupt, from the End Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST) network, said the network supports DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn’s plan to legalize e-cigarettes and hopes the working group will be transparent, listen to public opinions and allow e-cigarette users to provide information.
“We believe the legalization of e-cigarettes will help Thailand achieve the goal of reducing cigarette smokers and protecting nonsmokers from the danger of secondhand smoke,” Salikupt said.
The Excise Department can introduce an e-cigarette tax once e-cigarettes are legalized.
Maris Karanyawat, also from ECST, said Britain, New Zealand and the Philippines are likely to promote the use of e-cigarettes to help reduce the consumption of harmful substances and help those who cannot quit smoking cold turkey.
“More than 70 countries have legalized e-cigarettes as it can reduce the number of smokers,” Karanyawat added.
By banning e-cigarettes, the government is losing tax revenue, people are losing access to safer alternatives and the Tobacco Authority of Thailand is losing a chance to make money, according to Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, Move Forward’s Bangkok MP.