Ministry eyes legalising ecigarettes

THE Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry sets up a working group to see if electronic cigarettes can be legalised as an alternative for smokers.

Asa Salikupt, from the End Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST) network, said the network supports DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn’s plan to legalise ecigarettes and hopes the working group will be transparent, listen to public opinions and allow ecigarette users to provide information.

“We believe the legalisation of ecigarettes will help Thailand achieve the goal of reducing cigarette smokers and protecting non-smokers from the danger of second-hand smoke,” he said.

He also pointed out that the Excise Department can introduce an ecigarette tax once it’s legalised.

Maris Karanyawat, also from ECST, said Britain, New Zealand and the Philippines are likely to promote the use of ecigarettes as it can reduce the consumption of harmful substances and help those who cannot quit smoking cold turkey.

He added that many studies and foreign policies the network has cited so far have proved that ecigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco.

“More than 70 countries have legalised ecigarettes as it can reduce the number of smokers,” Maris added.

Earlier this week, Move Forward’s Bangkok MP Taopiphop Limjittrakorn said in a Facebook post that he backs the legalisation of ecigarettes and that he had spoken to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit about the steps that should be taken. — The Nation/ANN

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