Earlier today, the Tholos Foundation sent a letter to members of Thailand’s National Assembly, articulating the benefits of tobacco harm reduction and highlighting crucial evidence regarding a legislative proposal that would legalize and regulate e-cigarettes in the country.
“Thailand’s legislative proposal is indicative of a larger shift in e-cigarette policy in Southeast Asia,” said Karl Abramson, Tholos’ Consumer Issues Fellow and author of the letter to Thai lawmakers. “We are seeing an increasing number of countries in the region abandon prohibition in favor of legalization and responsible regulation of reduced-risk tobacco products.
In addition to critical evidence about e-cigarette safety and efficacy as a tool of smoking cessation tool, our letter focuses on Thailand’s draconian enforcement of current e-cigarette laws that has had significantly negative effects on tourism. Legal e-cigarettes will increase tourism, which is a massive part of Thailand economy, while delivering substantial benefits to public health including lower smoking rates and decreases in smoking-related illnesses and cancer.
Each year, 50,000 Thai people die because of tobacco and smoking-related disease. This legislation is an opportunity for lawmakers to offer their citizens access to reduced-risk nicotine products that are shown to be at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes. The risk of cancer from e-cigarettes, compared to the cancer risk of smoking, is less than 0.5%.
In the past months, Tholos has engaged with decision makers in Thailand, the Philippines, and Bangladesh as these countries consider legalizing e-cigarettes for adult use. We were extremely pleased to see the Philippines legalize e-cigarettes and expect other governments to follow. Tholos is committed to furthering the cause of tobacco harm reduction, not just in Southeast Asia, but across the globe.”
Tholos’ letter to Thai lawmakers can be read in full here.