Thai Smokers-Second-hand Smoke

Families at Risk

Thai Smokers Risking Health Of Families, Says Survey

January 14, 2002 BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Almost nine out of 10 Thai smokers light up at home, endangering their families by exposing them to secondhand smoke, an official report said Monday.

A survey of 78,000 households carried out in April to June last year by the National Statistical Office found that 23.4 percent of Thais, or roughly 12 million people, smoke cigarettes - roughly unchanged from the previous survey taken in 1999.

Among smokers, 88.1 percent said they smoked at home. The report said smokers were generally unaware of the health hazards of secondhand smoke, and urged the Public Health Ministry to launch an educational campaign.

Although there was no real increase in the total smoking population, the survey also found that the number of young smokers had increased from two years earlier.

The report said the proportion of smokers among males aged 15-24 increased to 26 percent from 24 percent, and the percentage of female smokers in the same age bracket doubled to 0.6 percent from 0.3 percent.

Thai smokers were found to consume an average of 10.6 cigarettes a day, and more than half of them - 52.7 percent - smoked traditional hand-rolled cigarettes. Forty-six percent preferred local Thai brands and the small remainder smoked imported foreign brands.

The Thai government has for several years imposed tough measures to discourage smoking, including a ban on tobacco advertising in all media.

Last year, scenes of people smoking were banned or censored on regular television programming as well as commercials.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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