Public Health Min to propose stricter anti-smoking law

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BANGKOK, 18 December 2014 – The Ministry of Public Health is preparing to propose a new draft law aimed at reducing the number of teen smokers.

The new anti-smoking law, if approved, is expected to fill the loopholes in the current one, which has been in effect for 22 years. Under the new tobacco control law, the definition of tobacco products will cover all kinds of things containing nicotine, including baraku, electronic baraku, and electronic cigarettes. In addition, people who can legally buy tobacco must be 20 years of age or above, instead of 18.

Advertisements, sales promotion activities, as well as points of sale of tobacco will be monitored more strictly. Operators will be unable to divide cigarettes into smaller units for sale as they will be required to sell them in the form of packets.

Over the past 20 years, more than five million Thais succeeded in quitting smoking. However, the number of teenagers taking up smoking is now close to the number of those who gave it up. The improved law is intended to reduce the rate of new smokers, which is estimated at 100,000 per year.

According to the Ministry of Public Health’s statistics, seven out of ten young smokers are unable to quit smoking throughout their lives. The rest can only give it up after 20 years of addiction. A young tobacco addict can cause 156,000 baht in economic loss and treatment.