UN supports ban of ‘e-cigarettes’ in Thailand
21 October 2021
E-cigarettes pose a threat to Thailand’s tobacco control efforts and can reverse gains made over many decades, says the United Nations in Thailand.
Bangkok, Thailand - The United Nations expresses full support for Thailand’s ban of electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, and urges the Government to take strong measures, as appropriate to the national context, to protect the people in Thailand, especially youth from the harms of tobacco use.
“Evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are harmful to health and are not safe. E-cigarettes put young people at risk of lifelong nicotine addiction and can turn current users into dual users,” according to a letter issued today addressed to H.E. General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand. The use of tobacco products kills approximately 70,000 people in Thailand every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported, costing the economy an estimated 93 billion Thai baht or 0.65 per cent of the GDP.
Renaud Meyer, UN Resident Coordinator ad interim to Thailand, said: “E-cigarettes pose a threat to Thailand’s tobacco control efforts and can reverse gains made over many decades. Especially worrying is the increasing use of e-cigarettes among adolescents aged 13-15 in recent years from 3.3 per cent in 2015 to 8.1 per cent in 2021.”
Dr. Renu Garg, WHO representative ad interim to Thailand, commended recent efforts in tobacco control but also emphasized: “It is recommended to further enact comprehensive evidence-based tobacco control measures to reduce nicotine addiction and tobacco use, to fulfill Thailand’s obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”
Responding to unproven health claims about e-cigarettes, she added: “WHO has never stated that e-cigarettes are 95 per cent less harmful to health than conventional cigarettes.”
An earlier statement by WHO has confirmed the need to promote smoking cessation, citing tried and tested interventions, including brief advice from health professionals, quit lines, mobile text messaging, nicotine replacement therapies and non-nicotine pharmacotherapies.
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