Re: “Thai ban on e-cigarettes could lead to ’10-year jail term’”, Travel Weekly, August 14.
Utterly ludicrous. The developed world is encouraging their use. Meanwhile Thailand is showing how far it is from being developed by nailing tourists as they arrive with e-cigarettes (clearly for personal use), threatening them with crazy prison sentences and demanding “fines”. You can now cross another substantial group of people off the list of prospective visitors. Well done, Thailand: first place in the “shooting oneself in the foot” awards.
I wonder if the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly has any interest in a ban on e-cigarettes?
Can anyone prove a logical explanation as to WHY e-cigarettes are banned in the Land of Smiles? Other than the fact the tobacco companies are dead against them for cutting into their profits?
This utterly inane and draconian law shows just how desperate the government is about maintaining its monopoly and absolute control over tobacco use within the country.
Just another example of how out of touch the officials here are, and how far behind the curve the country is, in general. It also demonstrates how little the health of the people means to the powers that be.
The Thailand Tobacco Monopoly is the reason e-cigarettes are illegal. They have seen in other countries how e-cigarettes are helping people quit smoking, and that will mean less money for them. In 2009 the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly’s sales were Bt50 billion (roughly US$1.5 billion), with net profits at Bt5.8 billion (Wikipedia).
Unfortunately the industry has itself to blame for coming under close scrutiny, although the penalties are ludicrous. Some manufacturers deliberately set out to capture the youth market with the flavours they make and promote (Red Bull and other sweet, youth-oriented drinks, fruit and candy/chocolate). This was most unhelpful given the battles to stay legal in other places, most of which have been won.
A few zealots in Thailand seized on this and, rather than regulate, control and tax, it was decided to blanket ban. Very foolish decision.