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Bangkok’s Blitz on Illegal Vaping: Puangpet Chunlaiad Leads Raid on E-Cigarette Shops Near Universities

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In a plot that seems ripped straight from the pages of a fast-paced crime novel, the bustling city of Bangkok witnessed a tactical operation unfold last Friday that could very well change the vaping landscape in the surrounding university belts. In an impressive display of coordination and enforcement, the Thai police, under the watchful eyes of the Prime Minister’s Office Minister Puangpet Chunlaiad, conducted simultaneous raids on five e-cigarette shops strategically located near educational institutions and buzzing community hubs.

The raids weren’t just a mere sweep; they were a calculated strike against the burgeoning illegal trade of e-cigarettes, culminating in the seizure of a staggering 10,000 units. These weren’t your garden-variety vapes. The haul featured an eclectic mix of regular-shaped e-cigarettes and toy pods, eclectic nicotine vaping devices cunningly disguised as innocuous cartoon figurines, collectively valued at a cool three million baht. This treasure trove of contraband was not just a hit on the illegal vaping market but a statement by the authorities.

The most notable of these dens of defiance was nestled in Soi Lat Phrao 107, within a stone’s throw of a prestigious private university, making it a popular haunt among the academic population. Operated by a duo of youths not much older than the students they served, this shop was a bustling enterprise, raking in around 10,000 baht daily. Their clientele was predominantly university students, though, amidst the accusations, they claimed to uphold a policy of not selling to those under 20.

The aftermath of the raids was a stern promise from Lertsak Raktham, the deputy director of the OCPB’s Special Operations Center, ensuring that the proprietors of these establishments would find themselves behind bars. This operation was more than a crackdown; it was a clear message to the purveyors of these illegal wares.

But why all the fuss about e-cigarettes, you might ask? Dr. Prakit Vathesatogkit, the executive secretary of the Action on Smoking and Health Foundation, provided some global context to this local drama. Internationally, nations like England, France, and Belgium faced similar challenges with toy pods before legislative measures put a curb on their sales. Dr. Prakit’s concern wasn’t unfounded, especially given his revelation about a survey showcasing a worrying trend of e-cigarette smoking among Thai students, with the Northeast leading the pack, followed by the South, North, and Central regions.

With Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s recent clarion call to arms against the sale of e-cigarettes, this raid might just be the beginning of a nationwide campaign to extinguish the flames of vaping among the youth. As Thailand looks to its global counterparts for inspiration on regulation, it’s clear that the battle against the puff is heating up. Will this be the dawn of a smoke-free era for Thai students, or is it just another cloud of vapor in the wind? Only time will tell, but for now, Bangkok’s crackdown has certainly sent shockwaves through the heart of the vaping community, signaling that the authorities are not just blowing smoke.


  1. ThomJ April 20, 2024

    Finally, some serious action against vaping near schools. Kids need protection from these predatory practices. Great job by the authorities!

    • VapeKing April 20, 2024

      Seriously? Predatory? It’s not like they’re forcing these vapes on students. People need to learn about choices and consequences.

      • ThomJ April 20, 2024

        Easy for you to say when you’re probably not watching a loved one struggle with quitting vaping. It’s about creating a healthy environment for our youth.

      • MarieS April 20, 2024

        But isn’t banning just a temporary fix? Maybe we should focus more on educating the youth about the dangers rather than just removing it from sight.

    • LucasB April 20, 2024

      Exactly what we needed, more government intervention. Why not regulate and tax it instead of outright bans? Seems like a missed opportunity.

  2. SimonT April 20, 2024

    I’m curious about how they’ll enforce this going forward. Cracking down is one thing, but keeping up the pressure is another beast entirely.

    • GovWatcher April 20, 2024

      Past efforts suggest enforcement will wane once the media attention dies down. It’s more about the show than sustainable action, sadly.

  3. JulieR April 20, 2024

    The problem goes beyond just vapes. It’s about addressing why students turn to vaping in the first place. We need more youth programs and mental health support.

    • ConcernedDad April 20, 2024

      Absolutely agree, Julie. We’re so quick to punish rather than understand and help. This is just addressing the symptom, not the disease.

  4. VapeNation April 20, 2024

    This is a blatant attack on personal freedoms. Adults should have the right to choose. The focus on youth is just a smokescreen for broader control.

    • HealthFirst April 20, 2024

      Personal freedom doesn’t mean freedom to harm others or oneself. This crackdown is necessary for public health, especially among vulnerable youth.

    • VapeNation April 20, 2024

      And who gets to decide what’s harmful? The government? There’s a slippery slope here between protecting and policing.

  5. MeganE April 20, 2024

    Isn’t it ironic that cigarettes are still legal? They are proven to be deadly. Why not ban those too if we’re really about health?

    • OldSchool April 20, 2024

      Because banning cigarettes outright would be an economic and social nightmare. It’s a complicated issue, but I get your point.

  6. EcoWarrior April 20, 2024

    What about the environmental impact of all these disposable vapes? It’s not just a health crisis; it’s an environmental one too.

    • GreenPeaceLover April 20, 2024

      Exactly! Where’s the outrage over the litter and waste these products create? Health concerns are just the tip of the iceberg.

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