Thailand’s Official Visit to Chinese Vape Factories: A Glimmer of Hope After Strict Bans?

Thailand’s vaping policy has always been a subject of ambiguity. Recent reports reveal that the Thai House of Representatives has approved a budget to support a special committee’s visit to vape production facilities in China. This move is aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of vape manufacturing and regulation, potentially signaling a shift in the current stringent anti-vaping stance.

Background on Thailand’s Vaping Policy

Historically, Thailand has enforced a strict ban on e-cigarettes, especially highlighted by a recent crackdown on smuggling and sales initiated by Prime Minister Srettha on April 9. The revelation of this official visit thus sparked immediate opposition from anti-vaping advocates.

Dr. Wanchat Suphachatra, a key figure in Thailand’s health sector and a staunch supporter of the smoking ban, has suggested that the committee’s role should be to find control measures and enforce laws strictly. His participation in the factory tour, however, seems contradictory as it appears to promote the sale and production of vapes in Thailand, potentially tarnishing the committee’s image.

Purpose of the Committee’s Visit

There is speculation about the committee’s intentions. One perspective suggests that the visit aims to better enforce Thailand’s vaping ban. However, the choice of destination implies other motives. Dr. Wichai Kasemthawonsakul from the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center at Ramathibodi Hospital posited that the committee should study legal, health, and social impacts related to vaping and the processes of implementing bans.

He advised focusing on countries like Singapore and Australia, where the sale of e-cigarettes is banned, in contrast to Malaysia and the Philippines, which allow such sales. Brunei, which is preparing to enact smoking laws, should also be considered.

Despite this, China stands out as it does not have a vaping ban but maintains strict national standards for e-cigarette products and remains the world’s largest producer of vapes.

Thailand’s Potential Move Toward Legalization

It remains uncertain if this visit will lead to the legalization of vaping in Thailand. The tobacco industry involves various stakeholders, but there is a glimmer of hope for legalization. Before his tenure, Prime Minister Srettha expressed support for the legalization of e-cigarettes in a quick interview with TheStandardNews in May last year, promising to push relevant policies after assuming office.

Ongoing Developments and Industry Insights

Despite current stringent measures, insiders from Thailand’s vaping sector suggest that an initial strict approach might eventually transition into a regulated legalization. We will continue to monitor the latest developments in Thailand’s vaping industry closely.


As Thailand explores these new avenues, the future of vaping in the nation hangs in a delicate balance. Whether you are a supporter or opponent of vaping, keeping informed about these changes is crucial. Considering the benefits of regulated vaping can help pave the way for safer, controlled use that could potentially benefit public health. Let’s stay tuned to see how Thailand navigates these complex waters and what this could mean for the future of vaping regulations.


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