Thailand sees 1,000 new juvenile smokers daily


BANGKOK, Jan 10 – Fifty per cent of Thai men at the age of being fathers are smokers, while new juvenile smoking is reported at 1,000 persons a day, according to Thailand’s tobacco control expert.

Dr Prakit Vathesatogkit, secretary general of Action on Smoking and Health Foundation Thailand, called on parents and educators to fight against smoking among juveniles given the latest figure of 400,000 smokers aged 15-18.

His plea marks National Children’s Day on Saturday and annual Teachers’ Day next Wednesday.

With the rapid increase of new smokers, the country’s total number of 12 million smokers in the last two decades has not dropped despite successive anti-smoking campaigns, he said.

Most paternal smokers are between 25 and 44 years old, Dr Prakit said, adding that 8.8 per cent of Thailand’s teachers are also listed among the country’s smokers.

He said parents’ and teachers’ attitudes towards smoking have greatly impacted youths’ smoking or non-smoking behaviour.

A youth’s chance of turning to cigarettes reduces sevenfold if his parents are strongly against smoking, he said, adding that teachers are no less influential to children than parents.

Declaring school premises as non-smoking lessens the chance of juveniles practicing the smoking habit during and after classes, he said.