The law should be changed to ban smoking in condominium buildings to protect non-smoking residents, a seminar was told on Tuesday.
Paisan Limsathit, a member of Thammasat University's Health Laws and Ethics Centre, said residential buildings should be smoke-free zones to reduce the effects of passive smoking.
He made the proposal at a seminar about protecting the health of non-smokers in condos.
Thailand's non-smoking law doesn't currently stipulate that entire residential buildings such as condominiums, hotels and dormitories be totally no-smoking areas; it only bans smoking in public areas, including lobbies and corridors.
Organised by the National Health Foundation, the seminar also discussed the findings of a Thammasat University study on smoking in condominium buildings conducted from September-October this year.
About 15% of 1,204 people surveyed said they were smokers. Nearly half the smokers -- 45% -- said they usually enjoyed their cigarettes on their condo balconies. Respondents were overwhelmingly in favour (89%) of a total smoking ban on condo premises.
Assoc Prof Dr Nipapan Kangsakulniti, lecturer at Mahidol University's faculty of public health, said non-smokers were vulnerable to passive smoking because smoke could seep through cracks or be blown around by ventilation systems.
Citing a study in the US, Dr Nipapan said a smoking ban in condominium buildings could promote health of residents and help save maintenance costs by US$153 million or almost 5 billion baht. The ban could also reduce risks of fires.
Charan Kesorn, from the Property Management Association of Thailand and Thai Real Estate Association, agreed that residents' smoking posed a health threat to their neighbours but suggested the best solution would be to communicate the health risks and reserve smoking areas in isolated spots.