Secondhand smoke at Thai airports 400% higher than US airports


BANGKOK, May 7 – Secondhand tobacco smoke at Thailand’s main international airports registers four times higher than that at major international airports in the United States.

Hatai Chitanondh, president of the Thailand Health Promotion Institute and Nipapun Kungskulniti, an academic from the Faculty of Public Health at Mahidol University together told a news conference citing a study which found that average air pollution levels from secondhand smoke was four times higher than levels in airports in the United States.

They urged the government to urgently amend regulations and enforce a new law to curb the levels of pollution and health hazard from secondhand smoke.

Dr Hatai and Dr Nipapun cited a United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey which found that the air quality at five of 29 US international airports was severely affected by the high level of secondhand smoke which could post a health threat to some 110 passengers per year.

As for Thailand, the survey was carried out at four international airports: Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Samplings were done at three locations–the designated smoking room, near designated smoking room doors, and in smoke-free zone.

The average level of small dust particles of 2.5 microns detected at the main airports in Thailand was at 773.4 microgrammme per cubic metre while that at the US airports was measured at 188.7 microgramme per cubic metre on average.

The figures in Thailand were four times higher than those in the US.

Dr Hatai said the secondhand smoke was still post health risk to public as it could linger in the air for 48 hours.

He also urged the government to take necessary measures to protect the health of passengers.