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Government debates about alcohol advertising and closing hours

During a recent parliamentary meeting on January 10th, 2024, Mr. Thaophiphob Limchitrakorn, a Bangkok MP from the Move Forward Party, proposed a reconsideration of a stricter Alcohol Control bill regarding the advertising of alcoholic products.

Three drafts of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act were being debated, including two drafts from the public sector and Mr. Thaophiphob Limchitrakorn’s draft from the Move Forward Party. The first draft, titled Article 32, aimed to strengthen current rules and completely prohibit the use of logos resembling alcoholic beverage logos on non-alcoholic beverages. This would mean that advertising for certain brands of non-alcoholic beverages, like soda and water, with logos resembling alcoholic beverages would be considered a violation.

Mr. Thaophiphob proposed an alternative in the second draft, which would allow advertising within reason. He aimed to address concerns raised by ordinary individuals who should not face imprisonment or hefty fines for simply posting or advertising beer on social media. He highlighted the discrepancy between the current fine for advertising alcoholic products by individuals, which is more expensive than the fine for drinking and driving.

Additionally, Mr. Thaophiphob suggested lifting the ban on selling alcohol during certain periods in Thailand. He argued that in some countries, limiting selling hours is not effective in controlling alcoholic beverages; instead, it leads to increased consumption and drunkenness. For example, he mentioned the unpopular ban on selling alcohol between 2 PM and 5 PM.

After a discussion among members of Parliament, the majority agreed to loosen the strictness of the alcoholic beverage control measures. The meeting resulted in 257 members in favor, 156 against, and 7 abstentions. The draft Alcohol Control Act is now sent back to the Cabinet for further consideration within 60 days before another parliamentary vote.

While the draft is still in the proposal status, this development indicates a potential loosening of advertising rules for alcohol and a reconsideration of the ban on selling alcohol during certain times.

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