Phillip Morris International (PMI) is lobbying the Thai government to reverse a ban on smoking alternatives, such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco products, reports The Bangkok Post.
According to Phillip Morris Thailand’s managing director, Gerald Margolis, the company has met with the ministry of commerce and the excise department and has sent numerous scientific studies on the health advantages of smoke-free alternatives to the ministry of public health.
“We will continue to present fact-based, non-ideological studies and results from other countries with the government,” Margolis said. “It would be silly to make an electric vehicle regulation without consulting automotive manufacturers, so there should be dialogue with the tobacco industry when crafting tobacco regulation.”
There are 10.7 million smokers in Thailand as of 2017 (19.1 percent of the country) and despite a variety of anti-smoking regulations, the number of smokers has only dropped 4 percent in the past 13 years, or 0.3 percent per year. Thailand is one of the most restrictive markets for cigarettes, with bans on marketing and in-store displays, as well as plans to introduce plain, non-branded, packaging by the end of the year.