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‘Action on Smoking and Health Foundation’ plus Phuket authorities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a smoking-free zone at Chillva Market on February 10, aiming to expand the non-smoking areas in public spaces.

The ceremony was chaired by Phuket’s Vice Governor, Prakob Wongmaneerung, and the MoU was signed by the Board of the foundation, Saranya Boonsom, Chillva Market Executive, Thitanan Thanapakpong, Phuket Public Health Office Chief, Padungkiet Utoksaenee, Phuket Mayor, Somjai Suwansuppana, Rassada Deputy Mayor, Pawat Suppasuwan and Reporter Club President, Junjira Sittabut.

“I’m glad that every sector realises the importance of public health protection, especially children and juveniles, from getting passive smoke from smokers,” said the Vice Governor.

“Also, everyone helps to promote the ‘norm’ of smoke-free spaces from the house, schools, workplaces and markets making the number of smokers in Phuket drop continuously. If we keep encouraging the situation with law enforcement there will be a lot fewer new smokers and a better quality of life for the new generation.”

Meanwhile, the Board of Action on Smoking and Health Foundation said that there are about 10 million Thai smokers and 42,000 – 50,000 smokers die from smoking-related diseases every year.

“There are 1.76 million people in Thailand who tried to quit and failed. There are 7.3 million households in Thailand with at least one smoker which makes 15.89 people at risk with the danger of smoke. What is also shocking is that there are about 500,000 Thai smokers dying during the middle age and another 500,000 dying in their later years because of smoking. The cause of death is mainly lung cancer which hits about 1 out of 8 of the smokers.”

“Only 30 milligrams of nicotine is already considered deadly. According to the research by Mahidol University in 2014, there are 2 public area out of 3 that smokers break public smoking restriction laws and the most popular place is the fresh market, which is 73.61%, followed by bus terminals, train stations, bus stops and piers at 72.66% then sport stadium at 45%. The shocking fact is that 45% of people do not know that public areas are smoking-restricted,” she said.

- Kritsada Mueanhawong