Thailand Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth)

When the Thailand Parliament enacted the Health Promotion Foundation Act (B.E. 2544) in 2001, it marked the birth of the Thailand Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) as an independent organization. It is formed as an autonomous state agency outside the formal structures of government. ThaiHealth is not part of Ministry of Public Health and its bureaucratic system but it is under the supervision of the Prime Minister. ThaiHealth consists of two boards: the multi-sectoral Board of Governance; and an Evaluation Board.

The multi-sectoral Board of Governance comprises 21 members, chaired by Prime Minister with Minister of Public Health as the first Vice-Chairman and the second Vice-Chairman of the board is an independent expert appointed by the cabinet. Other board members are representatives from nine different ministries and eight independent experts from various disciplines who have no political affiliations. They set policies, regulations, strategies and overall budget arrangement besides overseeing the management structure and other guidelines for ThaiHealth. 

The Evaluation Board has seven members from health promotion, finance and evaluation experts. They are responsible for evaluating the overall performance of ThaiHealth to ensure accountability, transparency and efficiency of the organization. ThaiHealth is required to report annually to the Cabinet and to both houses of Parliament in accordance to the Act. It is also supported by a group of expert advisory committees.

ThaiHealth as an autonomous health promotion agency is the first to be established in the ASEAN region. It utilizes an innovative health promotion financing system through a two percent (2%) surcharge levied on excise tax from alcohol and tobacco. The surcharge requires tobacco and alcohol producers to pay an additional tax on top of the excise tax. This type of funding mechanism is the most effective means for securing sustainable and long-term funding for a health promotion fund. 

Funding certainty allows ThaiHealth to continue supporting and implementing a range of short, medium-and long-term health promotion programmes and innovative projects throughout the country. There are 15 master plans on issue-based areas (tobacco control, alcohol and substance abuse control, road safety and disaster management, health risk control, physical activity, healthy diet, media system and spiritual health), setting-based actions (vulnerable populations, healthy community strengthening, children, youth and family health, health promotion in organization, health service system); and supportive systems and mechanisms. 

A surcharge tax, requiring tobacco and alcohol producers to pay an additional tax on top of the excise tax, the most effective funding mechanism for securing sustainable and long-term funding for a health promotion fund.

ThaiHealth encourages interested organizations to apply for open grants and innovative projects and also supports programmes that aim to change public values, lifestyles and the social environment in ways that promote health and wellbeing. It acts as a catalyst and complements the existing bodies that are working in the area of health promotion.

Over the years, ThaiHealth has demonstrated that taxing alcohol and tobacco products provides a reliable, effective, and predictable source of revenue for health promotion fund and also contributes to health promotion gains, notably with a reduction of the use of tobacco and alcohol as well as other harmful substances. Between1991 and 2017, cigarette excise taxes increased about 11 times, resulting in a significant gain in revenues from THB15,898 million (USD 482 million) in 1991 to THB 68,603 million (USD 2,079 million) in 2017. 

At the same time, smoking prevalence among adults (more than 15 years old) showed a declining trend from 25.47% in 2001 to 17.4% in 2021. A similar reduction rate was reported in alcohol consumption from 31.5% in 2001 to 28.0% in 2021 as well as death rate from vehicle accidents from 16.82 per 100,000 in 2010 to 10.98 in 2020. 

ThaiHealth, through its strategic partnerships with various sectors including government, private, non-governmental organizations and communities, helps to mobilize and empower individuals and organizations across sectors in planning and carrying out health promotion activities for positive health enhancement. It has established a network with more than 20,000 partners across the country and continues to foster cross-sector partnerships with different sectors to promote and improve well-being of the community. 

A flexible organizational structure and management system along with financial security and effective strategies are ThaiHealth key strengths that help to improve the health of all Thai people.


Thai Health Promotion Foundation. Health Promotion Foundation Act, B.E. 2544 (2001). Bangkok, 2001.

Siwaraksa P. The Birth of Thaihealth Fund. Bangkok: Thai Health Promotion Foundation, 2002.

Adulyanon S. Funding Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programmes: An Innovative Financing Experience from Thailand. WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health 2012;1(2):201-207.

Vathesatogkit P. Strengthening Intersectoral Collaboration in Addressing NCDs through Health Promotion. Presented at the Workshop on Strengthening Intersectoral Collaboration in Addressing Non-communicable Diseases through Health Promotion, 3 May 2013, Philippine. 

Thai Health Promotion Foundation. Thaihealth plan (Online). Available at:

National Statistic Office. (2021). The 2021 health behavior of population survey. Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Thailand. Available at:

Ministry of Finance. (2017). Annual report. Excise tax department, Ministry of Finance, Thailand. Available at:  

Related reports

World Health Organization. (2004). The establishment and use of dedicated taxes for health. World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific.

Vathesatogkit P, Yen Lian T, Ritthipakdee B. (2013). Health Promotion: Sustainable Financing and Governance. Bangkok, Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth). 

World Health Organization. (2016). Earmarked tobacco taxes: lessons learnt from nine countries. Geneva, World Health Organization.

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