BANGKOK– Thailand’s Cabinet has approved a ban on the import of hookah-style water pipes and electronic cigarettes, copying a similar move by neighboring Cambodia earlier this year.
Deputy government spokesman Maj. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Tuesday’s decision approving the ban proposed by the Commerce Ministry was made for health reasons. The Public Health Ministry originally suggested a ban, saying the items were luring young people into smoking.
The ban also applies to substances that could be used to flavour or scent the water used in the water pipes, also called baraku in Thailand. The use of baraku is still legal in areas where smoking is allowed.
Some assume that e-cigs have been banned because Yongyuth Tundulawessa, a local Thai professor, launched his own nicotine gum or that nicotine cartridges are difficult to tax.
Shops that sell e-cigs openly often do not sell nicotine-laced e-juice cartridges. Users source them from online shops. Forum participants also mention that e-cigs are sold in tourist spots and on the sidewalks of Sukhumvit.
The latter sells mostly Chinese brands which Thai consumers believe to be of poor quality and tastes terrible. Those who prefer better tasting ones buy from online sellers based in the United States or Malaysia.
People traveling to Thailand and want to play it safe, local vapers advise dismantling the e-cig and hide them at the bottom of the laptop satchels.