As Thailand considers revising its ban on harm reducing nicotine delivery products, a global consumer advocacy group is praising the actions of Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, who has recognized the importance of harm reduction in saving the lives of smokers who want to quit.
“The growing body of evidence from countries around the world points to a steep decrease in smoking rates once we allow harm reducing nicotine alternatives such as vaping products, snus, nicotine pouches, and heated tobacco products,” said Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center. “The smoking rate in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are already at historical lows.
“Considering that over 50,000 Thai die each year due to smoking, amending the current bans and restrictions on these alternative nicotine products would mean lives would be saved almost immediately.
“In that, we praise the comments and recent actions of Digital Economy and Society Minister, Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, who has been willing to hear the evidence on the scientific and health evidence in favor of vaping and nicotine alternatives and has made the case for how innovation in harm reduction can help save lives,” said Ossowski.
“In addition, the National Tobacco Products Control Committee’s ban on vaping imports has paved the way for a dangerous illicit market, meaning that ordinary Thai citizens who gain access to these life-saving products are not only be at risk of significant fines by authorities, but also face more health risks related to illicit products that are not inspected and regulated by state agencies. Added to that, the government is losing out on potentially millions in tax revenue that could be use to fund healthcare, education, and vital social projects.
“If Thailand were to embrace innovation and endorse a strategy of harm reduction, they would not only be saving potentially millions of lives, but the country would also create a new wave of entrepreneurial investment and drive that would surely lead to an economic boom,” concluded Ossowski.
***CCC Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries to yael@consumerchoicecenter.