The Public Health Ministry's Disease Control Department has insisted that electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are hazardous to health and should not be used as a means to quit smoking, said Dr Assadang Ruay-archin, deputy director-general of the department.
Dr Assadang, also the department spokesman, also dismissed as untrue a report that the Public Health Ministry had distorted an analysis about safety risks, toxic substances and heavy metal in e-cigarettes.
The Disease Control Department still insists that e-cigarettes are hazardous to health because people who use e-cigarettes can still get nicotine, the addictive substance contained in ordinary cigarettes.
Therefore, people who smoke e-cigarettes can be addicted to nicotine, similarly to the way they are addicted to it from smoking ordinary tobacco-based cigarettes, Dr Assadang said.
As for a foreign-based report that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than ordinary cigarettes, it is only an assessment by some research groups. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not yet recognised the report. There have been so far no academic conclusions about the safety of e-cigarettes.
According to Dr Assadang, although some reports say e-cigarettes are less hazardous than ordinary cigarettes, they still risk being the cause of lung, heart and cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, many reports say that more youths who start the smoking habit with e-cigarettes tend to become addicted to ordinary cigarettes than those who do not begin with e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes also attribute to the increase in the number of new smokers.
Dr Assadang said the Disease Control Department urges those who want to quit smoking to use medically-recognised methods. They should not use any other products claimed to effectively help them quit smoking.
The products to help people quit smoking should be registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to guarantee standards and safety, he added.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)