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Thailand Combats Underage Vaping: Obec’s New Strategy Aims to Safeguard Students

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Imagine wandering into a vibrant store in Bangkok, shelves lined with e-cigarette liquid bottles in an array of enticing flavors. This scene was swiftly shattered when the Customs Department swooped in, seizing the goods, a stark reminder of Thailand’s firm stance against e-cigarettes.

In an intriguing development, the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) is gearing up to take the battle against vapes into the classrooms. With a concerning uptick in students, particularly those aged 13–15, embracing e-cigarettes, Obec is pulling out all the stops. They announced plans for rigorous measures, including the personal search of students’ belongings. The sightings of first graders, those little humans between the ages of 6 and 7, with vapes in hand, have particularly set alarm bells ringing. Imagine, if you will, a world where the youngest smokers are barely out of kindergarten.

Thee Pawangkanan, deputy secretary-general of Obec, painted a vivid picture of the concerns gripping the authorities. Education Minister Permpoon Chidchob, Deputy Education Minister Surasak Phancharoenworakul, and Obec secretary-general Thanu Wongjinda have put their heads together, tasking Mr. Thee with spearheading efforts to extinguish this fiery issue.

The creativity of vapes, fashioned to resemble cartoon characters and emitting fruity aromas, might trick parents, teachers, and students into believing they’re harmless fun. Yet, the shadow of lung damage looms large, a reminder of the dangers lurking beneath the surface.

Mr. Thee’s message to parents was clear: This is a collective battle. While e-cigarettes might not be classified as drugs, the peril they pose to young lungs and lives is undeniable. Imagine, if you will, a conversation at the dinner table, where the mystique of vapes is dispelled, not through fear, but through understanding.

In a move reminiscent of airport security, Obec’s new measures include rummaging through students’ bags for contraband, including those deceptive e-cigarettes, starting May 15, the dawn of a new term. A determined bid to keep the school environment safe and pure.

Meanwhile, the Customs Department, under the vigilant eye of Phantong Loykulnanta, principal adviser on duty collection management and development, is waging its own war against the tide of smuggled cigarettes and vapes. Between March 1 and April 5, a staggering 211 smugglers were apprehended, their loot valued at 34.11 million baht. With Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s policy as their guiding light, the department is steadfast in its resolve to quash this persistent problem.

So, as Thailand stands at the crossroads, its arms wide open to the future yet firmly anchored in the protection of its youth, one can’t help but ponder the shape of things to come. Will the country’s determined stand spell the end for vapes among its youngest citizens, or is this just the beginning of a more nuanced conversation on health, choice, and freedom?


  1. JaneD April 7, 2024

    I think what Thailand is doing is great! Young kids should not have access to vapes. It’s disturbing to think first graders could be vaping. Full support from me!

    • vape_master April 7, 2024

      But isn’t this a bit too much? I mean, searching kids’ bags feels like a violation of their privacy. There has to be a better way to handle this.

      • JaneD April 7, 2024

        I see your point, but what’s the alternative? We’re talking about the health of these kids. If it takes bag searches to keep them safe, so be it.

      • educator101 April 7, 2024

        It’s not just about bag searches. It’s about education and creating awareness. Kids need to know WHY they shouldn’t vape.

    • parenting_done_right April 7, 2024

      As a parent, I’m all for it. Whatever it takes to keep these harmful items out of my child’s hands. People need to understand that the safety of children is paramount.

  2. Liberty4All April 7, 2024

    Are we really ok with schools becoming surveillance states? This seems like a slippery slope to me. What’s next after bag searches?

    • JaneD April 7, 2024

      It’s not about surveillance. It’s about safety. Maybe if there was more cooperation from everyone, these measures wouldn’t be necessary.

    • SocJusticeW April 7, 2024

      I think the focus should be more on why students are turning to vapes in the first place. Address the root cause, not just the symptoms.

  3. econmajor April 7, 2024

    What about the economic implications? This crackdown on vapes is likely to drive the market underground, making it even harder to regulate and potentially more dangerous.

    • healthadvocate April 7, 2024

      Yes, but public health should take priority over economic concerns. If it’s harder for kids to get their hands on vapes, I’d say it’s worth it.

    • Liberty4All April 7, 2024

      But isn’t the whole point of regulation to keep things safe? If we push this market underground, we lose the ability to regulate and ensure safety.

  4. science_fan April 7, 2024

    I wonder what the long-term health studies say about vaping. Is it really as dangerous as they’re making it out to be?

    • healthadvocate April 7, 2024

      There’s already evidence showing potential harm from vaping, especially in young, developing lungs. It’s not harmless water vapor; there are chemicals involved.

  5. teacher2023 April 7, 2024

    As someone on the front lines, this is a tough situation. We want our students safe, but the idea of searching bags makes me uncomfortable. It feels like we’re treating kids as suspects rather than educating them.

  6. youth_voice April 7, 2024

    Nobody’s asking us, the youth, what we think about all of this. We’re not just blindly following trends. This feels like an invasion of privacy, and it’s not addressing why some of us might be interested in vaping in the first place.

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