In this article that 50% of Thailand readers may find insignificant while the other 50% find it annoying, Thailand has officially reclassified tampons as cosmetics.
The plan had been in the works since last month, with Health Minister Mr Anutin Charnvirakul signed the original plan on June 29, but today’s publication in the Royal Gazette makes the plan official. The move is ostensibly a win for women’s health, but the tax disadvantage was soon revealed.
Since they are now classified as cosmetics, tampons are now subject to stricter regulations. Quality control and certain rules and standards now apply. Government agencies will now ensure that different brands maintain standards of quality and health and safety. The text of the order announcing the reclassification emphasized this point and cited the need to protect the safety and health of users as the reason for the change.
Further Information was quite vague about what the next steps in this (monthly) dressing would be.
But controversy soon arose when it was noted that cosmetics are taxed at a rate of 30%. Tampons have been mentioned in tax debates in the past due to high tax rates and were once even referred to as a luxury item.
Globally, tampons are becoming an oft-cited example of the concept of a “pink tax” — how products aimed at women tend to be more expensive, even when comparable products for men aren’t. The name comes from an anecdotal example of a brand of razors (also so insanely expensive) for men and women that are identical in every way, except one is pink, at a significantly higher price.
Many Thais are now talking about the pink tax and the often male-dominated government to view female-only spending, from tampons to childbirth, as less necessary or protected than other health expenditures.
Thai women and even men took to social media to make voice hot
Within hours of the announcement, #TamponsWithoutTax in Thai was a popular hashtag in Thailand with more than 430,000 tweets about it by nightfall.
The response was so swift and fierce that the government quickly backed down and clarified tonight that the reclassification of tampons will protect health and safety but will not be subject to the 30% cosmetics tax, only sales tax and VAT as usual.
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