Roll your own cigarette smoking is growing in Thailand

Published on November 18th, 2009 13:29
Roll your own cigarette

According to the Global Tobacco Survey, the rate of adult smokers in Thailand keeps growing and already topped 14.

At the same time, it was revealed that Thai Minister of Public Health introduced an appeal to the government to raise the tax on tobacco for rolling since more than a half of current adult smokers prefer hand-rolled tobacco. Others prefer branded cigarettes.

The Global Tobacco Survey is a worldwide poll established two years ago by the WHO. It comprises 16 nations, home to the most inveterate smokers and highest smoking rates, among which are China, Russian Federation, Turkey, Bangladesh, India, Brazil, Indonesia and other countries. Thailand became the first nation to carry out and publish the survey – carried out among both teenagers and adults by the Department of Public Health, Kasetsart University and the Department of Statistics. Sonchai Udomchoke, the leader of the research, admitted that 7.3 million smokers of the surveyed 14.3 million smoked roll-your-own cigarettes, and the rest 7 million preferred regular cigarettes and other tobacco products.

In addition, the researchers found out that every sixth smoker was considering giving up smoking and every fifth smoker made an attempt to give within the last 24 months. The poll showed that more than 3 million non-smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke in their work places while nearly 20 million Thais have to inhale harmful smoke when at home.

The survey had a special question about awareness programs and found out that 70% of all respondents saw anti-smoking ads on TV, 60% of current smokers wanted to give up smoking because of potential health complications and the overwhelming majority of the surveyed knew that smoking is related to health risks.

Prof. Udomchoke said that smokers prefer hand-rolled cigarettes due to a wide-spread assumption that hand-rolled tobacco has been much healthier than branded cigarettes; however, according to numerous scientific evidences, roll-your-own tobacco also triggers many severe diseases.

He added that the major tobacco companies have recently started manufacturing more smokeless tobacco products after taking inconsideration the growing popularity of such products across the world.

In an attempt to decrease the smoking rates throughout the country, the Ministry of Public Health urged the lawmakers to double the tax on tobacco products, in order to make it unaffordable for low-income people, who form the greater part of smokers across the nation.

The Public Health Minister Danai Montipong declared that he would negotiate with the government the proposed tax increase on tobacco products and ya nat – common medical herbal plant put in rolling- tobacco.

The Health Minister said they would study carefully the economic impact of tax increase and its effectiveness in reducing the smoking rates. At the same time, the Ministry plants to introduce a list of herbal plants that can be used by smokers who want to give up their habit without any side effects.

Meanwhile, the Thailand office of Action on Smoking and Health has sent an open letter to Prasit Pattaraprasit, Deputy Minister, urging him to cancel his appearance on the annual Tobacco Exhibition, which he is due to open next week. The ASH spokesman said that any support of an event sponsored or carried out by tobacco industry offends the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control ratified by the government of Thailand.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub. All rights reserved.

Related tags: hand-rolled tobacco | tobacco tax | smokers | roll-your-own cigarette | smoking | cigarettes | health | smokeless tobacco | tobacco control

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