According to a recent survey, e-cigarette usage among schoolchildren has surged fivefold in the last seven years, with the majority of users starting in primary school, despite e-cigarettes and vape devices are banned in Thailand.
The findings were presented at a recent seminar co-organized by the Centre for Tobacco Control Research and Education, the World Health Organisation, and the Tobacco Control Network.
Dr. Chayanan Sittibut, director of the Department of Disease Control’s Tobacco Products Control Board, expressed great worry over e-cigarette use among young Thais following a study of 6,700 students. The incidence of vaping among Thai teens increased more than fivefold, from 3.3% in 2015 to 17.6% in 2022.
The survey also revealed that the tobacco industry was targeting more children. Online e-cigarette marketing have expanded as additional flavours have been developed to target young smokers.
According to the report, young people have generally positive attitudes regarding e-cigarettes. Thai children regard e-cigarettes as safer than traditional cigarettes, resulting in a reduction in tobacco use from 72.2% to 59%.
Young people are less well-informed about the negative effects of tobacco, whether through media campaigns or cigarette packages. Such awareness has decreased from 74.9% to 61.3%.
“The survey has reconfirmed our opinion that we need to beef up e-cigarette control measures and not legalise these products,” Dr Chayanan said in a statement.
“We need to create a mutual understanding of the problems among young people, especially through social media channels,” he said.
Suwimon Chanpremprung, a teacher representing the Smoke-Free School Network, stated that youngsters began vaping during their primary school years, and that e-cigarette sales in schools have increased dramatically.
“Some fifth-graders were found to be selling e-cigarettes to their friends or charging them five to 10 baht for each vape,” she went on to say.
“Some teachers have a low level of awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Some parents, meantime, believe that e-cigarettes are safer and do not strive to keep their children away from them,” Ms Suwimon explained.
She also stated that the government must establish stronger e-cigarette controls.
e-Cigarettes and Vape Devices in Thailand
E-cigarettes, also known as vapes or vape pens, have gained popularity in recent years as an alternative to traditional smoking. The country has strict regulations regarding e-cigarettes. Thailand’s laws prohibit the import, export, sale, and possession of e-cigarettes and similar items.
This implies that travellers to Thailand are not permitted to bring e-cigarettes into the country, even for personal use.
Furthermore, acquiring or selling e-cigarettes in Thailand is prohibited and can result in harsh penalties, including large fines and perhaps jail.
The severity of the penalty varies depending on the number of e-cigarettes implicated and the circumstances surrounding the infraction. To avoid legal ramifications, travellers must be aware of and comply with Thailand’s e-cigarette regulations.
Thailand strongly outlaws the import, export, sale, and possession of electronic cigarettes and associated items. Travellers should be aware of these rules and take proactive actions to comply with the law while in Thailand to avoid potential legal ramifications.