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eCigarettes and Shishas

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  • eCigarettes and Shishas

    Government recommits to the banning of vaping and e-cigarettes

    While the government seems to have loosened up in legalising cannabis – though later claiming they never intended it for recreational use – they’ve just reiterated their position banning e-cigarettes and vaping. Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul doubled down on the ban, saying that vaping poses a major health risk, especially to young people who account for more than half of all e-cigarette consumers.

    Anutin spoke at a national conference in Bangkok yesterday addressing cigarettes and public health, citing a survey last year by the National Statistical Office of Thailand that said that, of the 80,000 people vaping in Thailand now, more than half were between the ages of 15 and 24.

    “This clearly showed vaping has created new smokers, especially young people, while a growing number of international studies found smoking e-cigarettes has negative effects on young people’s brains.”
    The Public Health Minister referred to these statistics when recommitting Thailand to the e-cigarette ban saying that Thailand has learned from observing other countries. He said that the most effective way to cut down on vaping in the country is to ban the import of e-cigarettes and actively fight to stop illegal smuggling of e-cigarettes across borders in order to avoid a growing black market.

    One big problem with vaping, is that it gives the impression that it’s more casual and less dangerous than smoking actual cigarettes, with many youth likely believing that there’s very little harm in smoking e-cigarettes. The director of Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Centre says that this simply isn’t true.

    Myriad ailments ranging from diseases of the brain, liver, respiratory system, and skin to oral and dental problems, and even problems with blood vessels and the heart have all been connected with vaping. The data on these afflictions were collected between 2014 and 2021 over the course of 6,971 studies worldwide.

    Authorities warn e-cigarettes can be just as harmful, and in some cases more hurtful, the traditional cigarettes. The American Heart Association says that vaping carries a 39% higher risk of asthma and 49% higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as a 1.8-fold increase in the risk of ischemic heart disease. The World Health Organisation warns that e-cigarettes contain several toxic chemicals, not just the nicotine that already can obstruct blood flow by contracting blood vessels.

    As is often the case, the younger people are when exposed to the toxic chemicals and dangers of e-cigarettes, the more harmful they can be. Brain development can be decreased by three to four times, and vaping in pregnant women can cause low birth weight, irregularities with the nervous system, and ADHD.

  • #2
    E-cigarettes continue to be banned in Thai market, Public Health Minister reiterates

    Thailand reiterates its stance on banning all forms of e-cigarettes including selling and importing the products into the country.

    Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said during the 20th National Conference on Tobacco and Health on Monday, August 29th, that electronic cigarettes and other new ways of tobacco smoking are a hidden danger in society, especially among youngsters and teenagers. He mentioned a survey conducted by the National Statistical Office of Thailand in 2021 which reveals that more than half of about 80,000 e-cigarette smokers in Thailand were teenagers aged between 15 and 24.

    “The results of the survey proved that e-cigarettes had created new smokers, especially among young people. They started smoking faster and were more likely to be affected by cigarette smoke, resulting in a negative impact on society, economy, and environment,” Anutin said. The Minister also reiterated that Public Health Ministry under his three-year management had never supported and strongly prohibited the use and import of e-cigarettes in all forms.

    “No matter what form of e-cigarette being advertised that they are harmless or cause no effect to health, the Ministry of Public Health didn’t buy such excuses and didn’t support e-cigarettes in any way. But those who were seen vaping were mostly carrying e-cigarettes that were illegally imported. Officials could only take legal actions against smokers if caught. And confiscations of e-cigarettes would continue to prohibit their sales online and in the black market,” he added. Meanwhile, critics online immediately pointed out that Thailand recently decriminalized marijuana on June 9th but continues to take a hardline stance on vaping and shisha.


    • #3
      Smuggled cigarettes hazardous to health – Thai Tobacco Trade Association

      Thailand is choking under a cloud of illegal, untaxed smoke from smuggled cigarettes, according to the tobacco industry. Thai Tobacco Trade Association (TTTA) director Thanyasarun Sangthong is worried about the health of the nation’s children. Only genuine cigarettes can keep them safe, she says. Sales of smuggled cigarettes have increased online due to low operational costs – paying no tax is quite effective in this regard. There is also no telling what you might be smoking as the black market is not subject to inspection by police or customs. “Illegal tobacco sellers can access as many different groups of customers as they want.” Online trade in illegal tobacco doubled from July to September last year, she said, citing findings from her own survey. The finding was blamed on contraband cigarettes being smuggled over the border. More than 99% of deals were done via Twitter (90%) or Facebook (9%).

      Prohibition by price
      Blowing yet more smoke, Thanyasarun said that illegal tobacco was easier to buy, especially for kids, and was popular because of its cheap price and better taste. Illegal online sellers are also free to advertise their products or cut prices, unlike their legal counterparts, she added. The TTTA survey was conducted just after the government raised the tax on a packet of cigarettes. Cigarette taxes have grown so steep that they almost amount to “prohibition by price.” The rich are free to smoke as much as they like. It’s just another way of making the poor poorer. And like all forms of prohibition, it leads to a spike in smuggling as smokers turn to more reasonable channels.

      Risky business
      The consequences of smuggled cigarettes include the corruption of government officials, violence, theft, counterfeiting and dangerous, adulterated products. While high taxes are often sold as a way to finance health programs, in many cases the money goes to unrelated spending. Consumers of smuggled cigarettes run big risks. Counterfeiting of legitimate brands is a serious problem, and the phoney filters are often adulterated with fillers containing anything from sawdust to human excrement. It’s today’s version of the toxic “bathtub” gin of the alcohol prohibition era.


      • #4
        Smoke without fire – Thailand’s Vaping Law

        While e-cigarettes are used around the world as a way of helping people quit smoking, travellers must be aware that Thailand’s vaping law means these devices are illegal in the kingdom. Whatever the motivations for the ban were in the first place, it’s now just another way for Thai police to fleece visitors.

        Vaping remains illegal under Thailand’s vaping law

        Vaping came into the spotlight when Huai Kwang Police Officers extorted 27,000 THB from a Taiwanese actress for carrying an illegal e-cigarette last month. Then, Pattaya Police fined a group of Chinese tourists 30,000 baht of an initial 60,000 baht fine for possessing e-cigarettes in Pattaya. Asa Saligupta of End Cigarette Smoke Thailand said…

        “We remain confident that Thailand’s parliament will legalise and regulate vaping once the General Election has been held. The issue is simply too big to ignore and the science too compelling.”
        Ends Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST) is a purchaser coalition working to legalise e-cigarettes in Thailand. ECST says smoking kills about 50,000 Thai people every year. There is no evidence of a direct connection between ECST and the tobacco industry, but ECST works closely with other organisations that have industry connections, such as the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations. The network receives funding from the cryptically named Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The foundation is, in turn, funded by Philip Morris International, that bastion of pulmonary health. Asa said…

        “The authorities seem keen to remind visiting tourists that vaping remains illegal in the kingdom. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be that way. We continue to make good progress behind the scenes.”
        Does Thailand’s vaping law mean safer smoking?

        Asa claims to know exactly what needs to be done to Thailand’s vaping law to address the kingdom’s smoking epidemic. He said…

        “Draft vaping legislation awaits Thailand’s parliament to debate and ratify. Realistically though, the General Election will take precedence.

        “I remain fully confident that safer nicotine products will be regulated in Thailand. Regulation will give consumers better protection, encourage more smokers to quit deadly cigarettes, and ensure we have much better control over youth vaping with a strict purchase age.”
        Smoke safely, smoke legally

        It’s a similar argument to the one espoused by the Thai Tobacco Trade Association. The association claims that only legal tobacco, sold by the usual Big Tobacco suspects, can save us from the kinds of deaths previously associated with their products, but now mostly caused by poor taxation regimes. According to the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates (CAPHRA), the likes of insurance companies like ThaiHealth have the ear of the prime-ministerial aspirant and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. Asa said…

        “If we want to substantially reduce smoking-related illnesses and premature deaths, we must lift Thailand’s harsh ban and penalties on vape products. It’s simply not working. As many countries have proven, it’s time to stop listening to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) anti-vape campaign.

        “Any claim that driving vaping underground will protect the youth is absolute rubbish. The way to protect young people is to introduce strict regulations to kill off a lot of the black market, deliver a minimum purchase age, and introduce product safety standards. That’s how you protect the youth.”
        Thailand’s vaping law and the Big Tobacco playbook

        For decades, tobacco companies have secretly created, funded and orchestrated independent-sounding front groups to undermine proven public health policies around the world. From casting doubts on the health harms of tobacco use to lobbying governments to roll back measures designed to drive down rates of tobacco use, front groups like the World Vapers’ Alliance have long been the foundation of Big Tobacco’s playbook. ECST is a member of CAPHRA, a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organisations. Its mission is to represent vapers and to advocate for access to products they claim to reduce harm from tobacco use.