13 February 2019
The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) strongly supports Thailand’s move to ban smoking inside the passenger buildings in all its airports to protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke.
The Airports of Thailand PCL this month removed all smoking rooms inside Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and Mae Fah Luang in line with Thailand’s Tobacco Products Control Act of 2017 and the Ministry of Public Health announcement in 2018 that required government agencies and state enterprises, including airports, to declare no smoking areas. Those caught smoking will be fined up to Bt5,000.
“We are very pleased with this news and we urge the government to monitor the compliance and strictly impose the penalty,” said Dr Domilyn Villarreiz, SEATCA’s smoke-free programme manager.
The WHO states that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke and only 100 per cent smoke-free environments can fully protect the public. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 70 known to cause cancer, and the rest causing other serious health problems.
Studies have shown that secondhand smoke can transfer from designated smoking areas into nonsmoking areas in airports.
“Tourism is an important economic driver of countries like Thailand. Successful tourism relies not only on available and efficient tourism infrastructure such as airports but also on a healthy and welcoming environment. This is a big move for Thailand considering it is frequented by close to 39 million international tourists annually. This is not only good for the environment but ultimately good for people’s health and the economy,” added Villarreiz.