THE THAI social media is abuzz with calls to legalise electronic cigarettes with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn being among them, Matichon said this afternoon (Feb. 11).
The issue of legalising vaping became a hot topic for discussion after Taiwanese actress An Yu-Qing, whose English name is Charlene An, accused Huai Khwang police of extorting 27,000 baht at a checkpoint during her New Year holiday visit on a charge of possessing E-cigarettes.
Former premier Thaksin, who is viewed as de facto Pheu Thai Party leader, said, “The penalty for possessing E-cigarettes is seven years imprisonment, yet children can smoke marijuana, what is the logic behind this? Will someone answer?
“Does vaping lead to people dying? Does it lead to people nearby dying? There is no evidence of this but what E-cigarettes do is undermine the interests of the tobacco companies.”
DES Minister Chaiwut, who is deputy leader of Palang Pracharat Party, bluntly called for “stopping pretentiousness” and is ready to push for legalising E-cigarettes as his party’s policy.
Former MP Chuwit Kamolwisit, who is currently focusing heavily on exposing corruption, said the root-cause of extortion is that E-cigarettes are still illegal in Thailand.
He added that he is ready to recommend that the laws on import, purchase and sale of E-cigarettes be amended to plug loopholes because if everything is transparent then the government would get revenue from this product.
Mr. Sombat Boonngam-anong, a political activist who is known as “Bor Kor Lai Chud ”, tweeted that “E-cigarettes were declared illegal after the National Council for Peace and Order seized power and announced policies to organise the society.
“They saw that people in the Middle East smoke hookah, and this is similar to marijuana hookah, and it then spread to E-cigarettes. But now marijuana is legal while E-cigarettes are not.”
Top: Police raiding a shop selling E-cigarettes in Rayong.
First insert: Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Second insert: Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn.
Third insert: Former MP Chuwit Kamolvisit .
Fourth insert: Mr. Sombat Boonngam-anong.
Front Page:Taiwanese actress Charlene An who claims paying off Thai police to be set free. All photos: Matichon
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