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Health officials call for smoking to be banned in residential buildings in Thailand

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Irina Iriser on Unsplash

Thai health officials are calling for a ban on smoking in residential buildings, such as condominiums, hotels, and dormitories. Those campaigning for a change in the law say it’s needed to protect the health of residents, and children in particular. Paisan Limsathit, from the Health Laws and Ethics Centre at Thamassat University, says residential buildings should be smoke-free in order to protect residents from second-hand smoke. He was speaking at a seminar on the protection of non-smoking condo residents.

The seminar was organised by the National Health Foundation and examined the results of a September – October study from Thammasat University that looked at smoking in condominium buildings.

According to the findings, out of over 1,200 people surveyed, 15% say they are smokers. Nearly half of those say they usually smoke on the balcony of their condo. 89% of respondents are in support of a total ban on smoking in condo buildings.

Meanwhile, Nipapan Kangsakulniti from the Faculty of Public Health at Mahidol University, says non-smokers are susceptible to second-hand smoke in shared buildings, adding that, according to a US study, banning smoking in residential buildings could cut maintenance costs by nearly 5 billion baht, as well as protecting the health of residents and reducing the risk of fires.

While the law in Thailand outlaws smoking in government and office buildings, as well as shopping malls and other public spaces like lobbies and corridors, there is no outright ban on smoking in residential buildings. Charan Kesorn from the Property Management Association of Thailand and the Thai Real Estate Association, says a compromise would be to reserve dedicated smoking areas away from non-smoking residents.

The fine for breaching Thailand’s ban on smoking in public places starts at 2,000 baht, rising to a potential 100,000 baht and/or a year in prison for smokers caught puffing on the beach.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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