Enforcement of laws controlling non-smoking areas at government offices, schools and parks and other public areas are to be ramped up, the Phuket Tobacco Products Control Committee revealed at a meeting held at the the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) yesterday (Dec 22).
Phuket Provincial Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Somprat Prabsongkram chaired the meeting, attended by PPHO Chief Kusak Kukiattikoon and other health officials.
According to health statistics for 2022, 17.4% of the population aged 15 years and over smoked tobacco products. In the Southern Thailand provinces that figure rose to 24%.
In Phuket, 20.5% of all people over the age of 15 are smokers, said an official report of the meeting.
The figure was an increase on the number of smokers last calculated, in 2017, the report said.
Currently, 194 Thai people die from smoking per day. The habit kills 72,656 Thai people per year and is the Number 1 risk factor for health, the report said.
As a result, some 6.7 million people in the country are exposed to secondhand smoke in their own homes, the top place in the country for people to be exposed to the health risk, the report added.
The second most likely place for exposure was petrol stations (61.3%), followed by religious places (60.9%), government office areas (58.3%) and public transport stations (52%), the report said.
As a result of the findings, all government agencies and those responsible for operating petrol stations, religious places, bus stations, public places in Phuket are asked for the co-operation in enforcing anti-smoking laws,
Laws banning smoking in non-smoknig areas are to be tightly enforced, and areas where smoking is permitted are to be tightly controlled, the committee resolved.
All educational institutions in the province are smoke-free zones, the committee noted.
The committee also called for a heightened public relations campaign highlighting the dangers of e-cigarettes and controlling the use of e-cigarettes among children, youths and the general public, the report concluded.