Multiple countries in Asia have decided to ban the use of various vaping devices, with violators facing heavy fines and even imprisonment. In Thailand, for example, breaking vaping laws can lead to a prison sentence of up to ten years. Now, vaping associations throughout Asia are uniting to fight against the repression of e-cigarettes and vape users.
This is an important moment for vaping advocates throughout Asia, because on October 1, 2018, the World Health Organization’s COP8 summit took place in Geneva. The goal of pro-vaping associations is to influence the decisions made at the summit. Within the ranks of the WHO, however, is Dr. Jagdish Kaur, who’s actively fighting to criminalize vape users.
Resistance is mounting to fight against the criminalization of vaping
In order to be heard, vaping associations throughout Asia have started the #VapersBeHeard campaign on Twitter. These vaping associations argue for the individual’s right to vape instead of smoke tobacco, which is far more harmful to public health. The pro-vaping online campaign also highlights the fact that e-cigarette users are not criminals but individuals who simply want to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
On September 14, during a speech, Asa Saligupta from the “Ends Cigarette Smoke Thailand” association deplored the WHO’s dictatorial stance on vaping. According to him, the WHO’s willingness to ban vaping products goes against the organization’s principles of improving global public health.
Today, in Indonesia, there are one million e-cigarette users, a number that pales in comparison to the number of smokers. Jeremia Dimasz, a member of an association for Indonesian vapers, hopes that Asian governments will take into account the opinions of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. Indeed, their experience as consumers could help fight the harm caused by tobacco addiction.