Mahidol University public health researcher Assoc Prof Dr Niphan Kungskulniti said her team found that smoking rooms, areas near smoking rooms and non-smoking areas at four airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai and Phuket – had high second-hand smoke levels with small particles under 2.5 micrograms exceeding WHO air-quality standards.
The study, revealed yesterday, found a level of second-hand smoke in the smoking room, areas near the smoking rooms and non-smoking areas at the airports were 773.4, 54.6, and 14.3mcg per cubic metre, respectively. The WHO sets the air-quality standard at 25mcg pcm, though Thailand sets its standard at under 50mcg pcm.
Thailand has passed a law to ban smoking at airports but this is only enforced at domestic airports, not international ones. “Public Health Ministry needs to amend its announcement to not exclude international airports from the ban on smoking,” Dr Hatai Chitanondh, president of the Thailand Health Promotion Institute, said. He said Phuket Airport was violating the law by letting people smoke at a restaurant. In related development, Asst Prof Dr Nithat Sirichotiratana of Mahidol’s Faculty of Public Health, said a poll of 200 foreign tourists – half smokers and half non-smokers – showed that 58 per cent supported smoking-free zones at airports and 66 per cent said they would return despite smoke-free rules.