Airport smoking rooms 'should go'
- Published: 7/05/2013 at 07:13 PM
- Online news:
Anti-smoking campaigners on Tuesday urged international airports in Thailand to close the smoking lounges, citing health dangers to non-smokers from second-hand smoke.
Nipapan Kungsakulniti of the Public Health Faculty, Mahidol University, said second-hand smoke had been detected in airport terminals at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai airports, including areas that are not near the smoking rooms.
Researchers conducted tests of 112 samples at the four airports.
The country has six airports providing rooms for smokers including Hat Yai and Samui. Suvarnabhumi has 18 smoking lounges, Don Mueang has five; and Phuket and Chiang Mai have one apiece.
Ms Nipapan said the respirable suspended particulates (RSPs), a marker for second-hand smoke, at the four international airports in Thailand, on average, is higher than that of US airports, especially in smoking lounges where the rate is about four times higher.
Dr Hatai Chitanon, president of the Thailand Health Promotion Foundation, said that indoors, second-hand smoke lingers for about 48 hours. "It only takes a small amount [of second-hand smoke] to be hazardous which is why it's called dangerous smoke," he warned.
Naowarat Charoenkar, also of Mahidol, said implementing smoke-free policies at airport terminals will not only reduce exposure to second-hand smoke but also reduce children's exposure to the act of smoking.
The foundation, Mahidol and the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Centre surveyed 200 foreign tourists at Suvarnabhumi between February and March last year, half of them smokers. They found that 58% supported the idea of the airport being smoke-free.
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Writer: Nattawat Watanasuwan