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The Tobacco Law in Thailand

Throughout history one can see many political parties vote laws in order to control the way that citizens use drugs, especially alcohol and tobacco. In Thailand, initial laws that have been passed were not directly targeted towards control on tobacco consumption, but rather on ways to help decrease its use.

tobacco-law-thailandInitially, the Thai government, with the help of the World Health Organization, ordered the labeling of health risks on cigarette packs being sold, as well as holding seminars on the negative impacts of tobacco on the body. Soon after, one could find flyers in the streets discussing these issues. These methods had very little impact on the way tobacco was being used, and regulations only began to become serious in 1987, when the Thai government began to distribute flyers claiming that smoking cigarettes, or offering them to monks are serious sins. In 1988, a law was proposed to raise taxes on cigarettes; however, it never came to pass. This was mainly because the government of Thailand feared angering the U.S. Trade Office, with whom they initially had problems when the government tried to regulate the tobacco trade.

In 1992, the Thai government adopted two main laws that govern tobacco:

1) Tobacco Products Control Act, B.E. 2535 and

2) The Non-Smokers Health Protection Act, B.E. 2535,

The first one relates to the packaging and labeling of tobacco products, including the advertising, promotion andthailand-law-smoking sponsorship of tobacco. The second one is directed at the restrictions of smoking in public.

Having a history of problems with tobacco regulation, the Thai government, with the help of the World Health Organization, released new laws on the 27th of February 2005, in order to control the smoking of tobacco, which is better suited to the government’s goals.

A regulation from 2010 prohibits smoking in some places. Smoking is now banned in a plethora of indoor areas such as workplaces, public transport areas, and many public places. Smoking is usually off limits in food courts, exercise facilities, and air-conditioned areas although some places do include smoking areas, such as airports and hotels. Most forms of advertisements are banned as well. Only live advertisements, such as those on television and radio are permitted. Advertisements are also allowed in duty free stores. Cigarette labels are required to contain graphic content on the packaging and company labels are prohibited from misleading the customers.

Following pressure from different organizations aimed at improving the overall health of Thai citizens, the new Thai law of 2015 is trying to fix loopholes in the 1992 regulations. It will also raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 20 years old. There is hope that it will decrease the size of the tobacco market and affect tobacco companies’ profits from Thai consumers, essentially taking a stronger stance on the tobacco trade and products being sold.