Thailand’s health ministry remains opposed to vaping, saying e-cigarettes are affecting the health of consumers of whom more than half are considered youth, reports Bangkok Post.
Speaking at a national conference on cigarettes and public health in Bangkok on Aug. 29, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul stressed the need to continue banning e-cigarette imports to protect youth from the health risks associated with vaping.
More than half of the about 80,000 vapers in Thailand are aged 15–24, according to a survey conducted by the National Statistics Office last year.
“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,” said Charnvirakul.
Pointing to “the experiences of other countries,” Charnvirakul said banning e-cigarettes was the most effective measure to control vaping.
Concerns about illicit trade would be addressed by continued “crackdowns on e-cigarettes smuggled into the country,” he added.
Charnvirakul comments follow discussions about making vapor products legal in Thailand. Earlier this year, the Digital Economy and Society Ministry set up a working group to see if electronic cigarettes could be legalized as an alternative for smokers.