Thailand’s Disease Control Continues to Deny Vaping
If you want to quit smoking in Thailand there is a good chance that you will find it difficult to get ahold of products that can really help you to quit. While many nicotine based products are allowed as a means to help quitting smoking, e-cigarettes are banned in Thailand. Not in the banning smoking in pubs way we experienced here in England, but in a if you get caught vaping you could potentially get ten years in prison way. Why is that though?
Thailand are Committed to Ending Smoking
This in itself is an excellent goal, but that way the government are going about it is quite brutal. They heavily tax cigarettes as well as making it illegal to smoke in public places. They have managed to reduce the number of smokers by over 18% over the last 20 years. However their stance on vaping is both incomprehensible as well as hypocritical.
The reason that they give for banning vaping is that because it still contains nicotine, therefore it is still addictive so it doesn’t help to quit smoking. At the same time as saying this they still allow other nicotine based products that are marketed towards quitting smoking. It makes very little sense that they would allow one product and ban another even though they do very similar things and have similar risk levels.
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
The Thai disease control department have taken steps to discredit any reports that back up the safety of vaping. They denied reports that they had distorted a study that showed the relative safety levels of vaping, while at the same time claiming that because no studies had been ratified by the WHO they should all be dismissed as fantasy.
While there have been a number of independent studies that have all backed up the levels of safety that vaping offers in relation to smoking, the blanket dismissal of these studies is both naive and dangerous by the Thai government.
What Do Vapers Do?
The only products that Thailand allow are the medically cleared stop smoking aids. As the majority of them contain nicotine it shows up the hypocritical nature of the stance that the Thai government is taking. This means that vapers don’t have access to the most effective product that is currently on the market to aid in the quitting of smoking.
It’s not even like they can order in and have to pay an expensive import levy. The import, export and use of vaping devices is highly illegal which can lead to a number of legal issues for people caught with the products. The only choices that people who want to vape have is the usual medically cleared stop smoking aids, all of which have a long catalogued history of failure.
While the use of vaping is illegal even though nicotine based stop smoking aids, which offer nowhere near the levels of success that vaping does, are not banned the hypocrisy of the Thai government is actually worse. Even if what they said about vaping was true it would still be no more harmful than cigarettes which are completely legal in Thailand, if heavily regulated. This isn’t the most measured of decisions and leads to the belief that there is something deeper behind the Thai government’s distaste for vaping.
What Does It Mean?
Fortunately for the rest of the world it means very little. Due to the weight of the many independent studies that show the relative safety of vaping there is very little that the Thai government could say to change the opinion of other governments around the world.
In fact, in the UK government have recently spent a lot of time in parliament debating vaping and coming to a lot of positive conclusions. Most other governments around the world are coming to the conclusion that vaping is a positive influence on people who want to quit smoking.
Should We Be Worried?
While it is an inherently unfair situation for the Thai people to have to be criminalised for wanting to quit smoking, it is unlikely that the attitude will spread around the world. The majority of the world’s governments are slowly coming round to the idea that vaping isn’t just a positive to many people who want to become non-smokers but it’s also not a substantial health risk like first thought.
Unless a new study is released in the near future that proves the many independent studies that say vaping is significantly safer than smoking wrong, which let’s be honest is incredibly unlikely, then there is no way that vaping will be banned. It is a vital tool when attempting to quit smoking and most countries recognise this.
Hopefully for the people of Thailand their government will recognise this soon, lift the ban and stop lying to them about the safety of vaping.