The Ministry of Public Health has announced that the sale and advertising of alcohol will be banned from online platforms starting on Monday 14th November 2020.
Deputy police spokesman Pol Col Siriwat Deepho said violators will be subject to up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to 10,000 baht.
According to Dr Niphon Chinanonwet, director of the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee under the ministry’s Department of Disease Control, the ban aims to control a surge in alcohol consumption which has been driven by the use of online platforms to market beverages.
Dr Chinanonwet cited recent research conducted by the Centre of Alcohol Studies on rising alcohol sales on online platforms such as Facebook, Line and other websites in Thailand.
The study found social media platforms like Facebook have become the place to sell alcohol where tax has not been paid or for vendors who do not have a licence to sell alcohol. He insisted the ban will not include the purchase of alcoholic beverages via electronic payment at shops, restaurants or other places where alcohol is served.
Dr Chinanonwet said the ban is equally applicable to small and large companies and insisted that only alcohol sales on social media platforms such as Facebook, Line and websites were being prohibited.
The ban does not intend to obstruct advertising channels of small alcohol companies, the doctor added. Meanwhile, existing laws concerning the distribution of alcoholic beverages are still in effect, he said.
Attempts to persuade and introduce alcoholic products through mainstream advertising are deemed to violate the Alcohol Control Act and are subject to a maximum one-year jail term and/or paying a fine up to 500,000 baht.
The sale of alcohol where tax has not been paid is also subject to fines while the sale of alcohol to children and adolescents is considered a violation of the Child Protection Act.