E-cigarettes linger despite legal threats

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Since 2014 e-cigarettes have been illegal and possession could earn the holder up to 5 years in prison and fines up to four times the product costs.
Since 2014 e-cigarettes have been illegal and possession could earn the holder up to 5 years in prison and fines up to four times the product costs.

Look around any Pattaya bar and you’ll likely see someone still smoking an electronic cigarette, even though they’ve been illegal in Thailand since 2014.

Despite raids on markets and announcements form the police, e-cigarettes continue to be sold quietly around Pattaya for 300-2,000 baht, with flavored “vaping” liquid going for as little as 100 baht a bottle.

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Besides the growing health concerns over e-cigarettes, the devices are illegal both to sell or even possess in Thailand, unless you have a receipt showing you bought your device before 2014.

The penalties can be stiff: Up to 5 years in jail and a fine four times the purchase price of the vaping gear for possession.

The importation, sale and production for sale of e-cigarettes carries sentences of up to 10 years and a fine of five times the value of the goods or both.

The law at issue is a financial one: e-cigarettes, just like shisha tobacco, are sold before the government’s excise tax has been applied. If the government doesn’t get a cut of the goods, it makes them illegal.

Police advise smokers that it’s not only dangerous to your health, but your wallet in Thailand.