Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai government urged to lift ban on e-cigarettes

Thai government urged to lift ban on e-cigarettes

Thai government urged to lift ban on e-cigarettes

THE NATION (THAILAND)/ANN: A NETWORK of e-cigarette users and importers have suggested that lifting the ban on smoke-free products and issuing appropriate regulations would be a more-effective measure to discourage people from smoking rather than selling cigarettes in plain packages.

The Public Health Ministry is in the process of announcing a new regulation requiring cigarettes to be sold only in plain packages, with 10 new pictures and warning messages designed by the ministry. The new regulation will come into force in 270 days after being published in the Royal Gazette.

Citing research that plain packaging helps reduce the craving for cigarettes, this new regulation will make Thailand the first country in Asia and 11th in the world to adopt “negative” packaging to discourage smoking, officials said.

However, End Cigarette Smoke Thailand group (ECST) representative Maris Karanyawat said plain packaging will do little to cut down on cigarette consumption, citing the number of smokers staying at 11 million over the past decade in Thailand despite the inclusion of warning pictures on packets since 2005.

“Thai laws [related to smoking] include severe punishment, but whether they can be really or seriously enforced is the problem,” he added.

ECST had earlier submitted 40,000 signatures in a campaign for legalising e-cigarette and suggesting that it be turned into a “controlled” rather than “banned” substance.

The Commerce Ministry has banned the production, import, sale and consequently possession of e-cigarettes since 2014.

Maris met with concerned agencies late last month about lifting the ban, but came away without a resolution. However, the Commerce Ministry did say it will set up a panel to study the proposal’s feasibility, he said.

Meanwhile, Gerald Margolis, managing director of Philip Morris (Thailand), said revoking the ban on smoke-free products and appropriately regulating cigarettes will achieve more than selling them in plain packaging. He added that his company was not opposed to plain packaging, but was more focused on efforts to secure appropriate regulations for products that have been scientifically substantiated as being less harmful.

He said Philip Morris International was working to create a smoke-free future, and that the priority of the company was to provide less harmful alternatives to adult smokers who will otherwise continue to smoke.

“Today’s issue is not about packaging, it is about the cigarettes inside that really cause harm when people light and smoke them,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • Singapore Fintech start-up enters Sihanoukville

    Singapore-based fintech start-up Fincy on Wednesday announced the expansion of its cashless payment system to Sihanoukville to tap into the southwestern coastal city’s ever-widening business and investment landscape. The move is in line with the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC’s) recommendations to