Vape law makes waves

Chaiwut: Thinks vaping should be legal
Chaiwut: Thinks vaping should be legal

The laws regulating e-cigarettes have sparked controversy, prompting a cabinet minister to propose vaping be legalised while police crack down on the sale of the devices.

The move came after a police officer allegedly demanded a foreign tourist pay 60,000 baht for possessing an e-cigarette in Pattaya, triggering a public debate on whether owning vaping devices should be illegal.

Critics ask why the devices are so easily available in the country if they are against the law.

Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn admitted on Thursday that e-cigarettes are popular with certain groups of people in Thailand and are legal in many other countries.

"Vaping has become part of their way of life," he said.

"In countries where vaping is banned by law, people still find ways to sell and use them secretly, leading to illegal businesses and bribes. They are still sold both online and in markets [despite being illegal].

"We should stop pretending [vaping has been successfully banned]. We are still struggling to deal with the problem.

"Most importantly, I think vaping should be legalised so the government can collect taxes from e-cigarettes for the benefit of the public.

"I will also push for the decriminalisation of vaping to be a policy of the Palang Pracharath Party for the coming general election,'' said Mr Chaiwut, who is also a deputy leader of the ruling party.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau's (MPB) commissioner has instructed all 88 police stations in Bangkok to crack down on those who sell e-cigarettes.

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  • bribe: money or a present given to someone so that they will help you doing something dishonest or illegal - สินบน
  • crack down on: to start dealing with someone or something much more strictly - จัดการ, ลงมือปราบปราม
  • decriminalisation: making it not a crime or less of a crime, often to end a waste of resources consumed by putting large numbers of people in jail -
  • demand: to ask for something very firmly - เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ
  • device (noun): a machine or piece of equipment that does a particular job - อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ เครื่องจักร
  • legal: allowed by the law - ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย
  • legalise: to make something be according to the law - ทำให้มีอำนาจตามกฎหมาย ทำให้ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย
  • pretend: to behave as if something is true when you know that it is not, especially in order to deceive people or as a game - แกล้งทำว่าเป็นจริง
  • struggle (verb): to try hard to do something that you find very difficult - พยายาม; ต่อสู้
  • taxes: money that you have to pay to the government so that it can pay for public services - ภาษี
  • vape (v): to inhale and exhale vapour containing nicotine and flavoring produced by a device designed for this purpose -
  • vape (n): a device used for inhaling vapour containing nicotine and flavoring -
  • vapouriser (n): a device such as an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) that produces vapour that can be inhaled -
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