End Cigarette Smoking in Thailand (ECST)

Updated September 2020

Background

Ends Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST), is a purchaser coalition working to promote e-cigarettes in Thailand. The group was hooked up in 2016 through 12 social media e-cigarette influencers.[1]

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Although there is no evidence of direct connections between ECST and the tobacco industry, ECST works closely with other organizations that have industry connections, such as the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO). INNCO is a grantee of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), and the FSFW in turn is funded by Philip Morris International (PMI).[2]

Lobbying against Tobacco Control measures

In 2019, an ECST representative spoke at the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) in Warsaw, Poland,[3] a conference coordinated by Knowledge Action Change Limited (KAC).[4] At the national level, ECST has worked to promote the legalization of e-cigarettes by claiming these products are a safer option for smokers, especially those who wish to quit smoking.[5] Another tactic used by ECST is  convincing the government that legalizing e-cigarettes will increase the country’s income through tobacco taxation.[6]  ECST has also called for additional research to show that e-cigarettes are safe for smoking cessation purposes.[7]  

As a representative of INNCO, ECST’s leader has participated in other international conferences, such as the 2018 Global Forum on Nicotine also in Warsaw, Poland,[8] and the 2017 Asia Harm Reduction Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia.[9] At those conferences, ECST worked to discredit the Thai government’s tobacco control policies banning electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and heated tobacco products (HTPs). ECST members also joined INNCO outside the eight session of the Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC COP8) in Geneva to pressure delegates to reverse their stance against alternative tobacco products.[10]

In 2018, ECST filed to the Law and Litigation Department in the Office of the Ombudsman Thailand, for overturning the ban on e-cigarettes.[11]

Other activities

In February 2020, ECST activated a Facebook page called ECST For Life.[12] Through the page, ECST advertised an event they organized called Run for Life#1.[13]

In September 2020, ECST has teamed up with CAPHRA, an Asian alliance of tobacco harm reduction advocates/ organizations, for a webinar to promote vaping called: ‘Voices4vape – Harm Reduction is a Basic Human Right. The webinar is being promoted and announced on its Facebook page a webinar.[14] The purpose of involving the Thai group appears to be to galvanize the vapers to elevate their right to vape. 

[1] INNCO, Members – ECST Thailand, https://innco.org/members/ecst/
[2] Foundation for a Smoke-Free World Grantees https://tobaccotactics.org/index.php?title=Foundation_for_a_Smoke-Free_World_Grantees
[3] Youtube, Asa Saligupta GFN2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SweYDDl__xo
[4] Tobacco Tactics, Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN), https://tobaccotactics.org/index.php?title=Global_Forum_on_Nicotine
[5] CTN News, 18 October 2018, Pro-Vaping Group Petitions Ombudsman to Overturn Ban on E-Cigarettes in Thailand, https://www.chiangraitimes.com/health/pro-vaping-group-petitions-ombudsman-to-overturn-ban-on-e-cigarettes-in-thailand/
[6] Prachathai, 19 May 2019, ECST asked the government to legalize e-cigarette, https://prachatai.com/journal/2019/05/82543
[7] Thairath Online, 19 August 2019, ECST to submit the research results and 40,000 supporter list to the Health Minister to unlock the electric cigarette, https://www.thairath.co.th/news/local/bangkok/1640610
[8] GFN 18 INNCO Thailand, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibuXs_bQ6sg
[9] Asia Harm Reduction Forum, Session Summaries, https://asiaharmreductionforum.com/pages/session_summaries
[10] https://www.factasia.org/consumer-advocates-gather-in-geneva-for-cop8/
[11] Dusita Maneemuang, Call to Overturn ban on e-cigarettes in Thailand, Asia Times, https://asiatimes.com/2018/10/call-to-overturn-ban-on-e-cigarettes-in-thailand/
[12] ESCT for Life, https://www.facebook.com/ECST-For-Life-111230577106173/
[13] ECST for Life, Run for Life#1, https://bit.ly/36vR4KO
[14] ECST Voice4Vape webinar, https://bit.ly/3mDrkDQ