Smoking and tobacco consumption has once again come under scrutiny in Thailand as lawmakers have introduced a 5-year plan to curb tobacco consumption and reduce the harm to people’s health caused by smoking cigarettes.
The plan will begin this year and be implemented through 2027, according to Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a government spokesman.
The plan includes six strategies and is budgeted at 498 million baht.
First, state agencies are called upon to enhance their capacity to control domestic tobacco consumption, while existing laws and regulations are refined. A budget of 138 million baht is required for this component of the plan.
The second strategy focuses on reducing new smokers and increasing public awareness of tobacco-business advertising. Young people will be made aware of the marketing ploys used by the tobacco industry through educational campaigns.
There will be a cost of 99 million baht for the anti-smoking program
A third strategy involves creating community networks to provide assistance to those addicted to tobacco products, as well as to help them quit. This will cost 51 million baht.
A fourth strategy involves full disclosure of the contents of tobacco products. There will be amendments to various laws and a budget of 12.5 million baht will be allocated for it.
As part of the fifth strategy, regulations will be issued that prohibits smoking in public places and workplaces. The project is estimated to cost 165 million baht.
Finally, in the sixth strategy, two elements will be addressed: revision of tobacco-related taxes, including the reorganization of the tobacco tax collection system, and suppression of illegal tobacco sales.
Tobacco laws in Thailand
It is prohibited to smoke in all public places, workplaces, and public transportation. Smoking is not permitted in the following outdoor places: facilities for exercising, sports training, sports playing, and sports competitions of all kinds, public parks, zoological parks, amusement parks, children’s playgrounds, and markets.
In Thailand, it is prohibited to advertise or promote tobacco products, with the exception of reverse branding or unpaid depictions. It is permissible for the tobacco industry to sponsor events, but it is prohibited to publicize the sponsorship.
As of December 8, 2019, all cigarettes available for retail sale must be packaged plainly. The law requires graphic health warnings to occupy 85 percent of the top portion of the front and back display areas of cigarettes.
There are also health warnings on shredded tobacco (which is typically used for hand-rolled cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products) and cigars. It is forbidden to use misleading packaging and labelling, including terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs.
Contents and Disclosures of Cigarettes
However, no regulations have been issued regarding the contents of cigarettes despite the law granting the authority to do so. Information about the contents and emissions of products must be disclosed to government authorities and the public by manufacturers and importers under the law.
Restrictions on sales
Vending machines, the Internet, schools, playgrounds, and healthcare facilities are prohibited from selling tobacco products. Additionally, single cigarettes, small packets of cigarettes, and waterpipe tobacco are prohibited. Anyone under 18 years of age cannot purchase tobacco products.
Vape and e-cigarette
E-cigarettes for smokable herbs cannot be sold at retail. E-cigarette advertising, promotion, and sponsorship are not restricted.
Tobacco Control Legislation Roadmap
Thailand’s Tobacco Products Control Act of 2017 (TPCA) became effective on July 4, 2017. The Tobacco Products Control Act of 2017 rescinds and replaces the Tobacco Products Control Act of 1992 and the Non-Smokers Health Protection Act of 1992.