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Thailand worst country for vapers

Warsaw—Leaders of national bodies for e-cigarette users ranked Thailand as the worst country in the world to be a vaper or user of electronic cigarettes.

In a survey of the 36 national organizations, 33 of them nominated Thailand as having the most restriction for vaping. Australia, with 18 nominations, was considered the second worst country while India was third with 16.

“Thailand has a draconian approach with tourists as well as local people regularly getting arrested for vaping. Police often search vehicles at roadblocks for e-cigarettes and then use them to extract fines. This is not just terrible for Thai smokers who want to quit but also makes it a country to avoid for the tens of millions of tourists and business people around the world who vape,” said Asa Ace Saligupta who runs the End Cigarette Smoke Thailand consumer group.

Among those countries considered to be best in the world, the UK emerged at the top with 32 nominations, while Germany had 25 and France 23.

“The United Kingdom government has had the most remarkable change of heart on vaping. Four years ago, it was trying to ban all e-cigarettes on the market. Today, the UK has three million vapers - and this is accelerating the decline in smoking among the British,” said Prof. Gerry Stimson of the UK charity New Nicotine Alliance. 

The Philippines was listed the 11th worst country for vapers. Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a researcher at Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, earlier identified the Philippines and Malaysia as two Southeast Asian countries with large populations of e-cigarette users, without any law regulating vapers.

The survey was conducted at the annual Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, Poland which this year has attracted 500 delegates from 60 countries. The organizations surveyed are members of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations. Each member was allowed to nominate up to five countries in the worst category and five in the best from a list of the world’s 100 most populous nations. 

Healthcare professionals and academicians called on countries to allow and regulate vaping or the use of electronic cigarettes in the face of growing evidence that these smoke-free nicotine products are the most effective harm reduction tool to end smoking.

The Public Health England reported in 2015 that e-cigarettes are 95-percent less harmful than smoking, as the harmful chemicals present in cigarette smoke are either not in EC vapor or only found at much lower levels. 

“Vaping is 95-percent less harmful than smoking,” said Dr. Joe Kosterich, an Australian doctor whose interest in e-cigarettes grew from listening to the experience of patients struggling to quit smoking and those whose success has come from vaping.

Topics: e-cigarette users , Thailand , worst country , Asa Ace Saligupta , vape , End Cigarette Smoke Thailand
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