Thailand train passengers ignore smoking ban
© Bangkok Post (file photo)
About six out of 10 train passengers violate tobacco control laws by smoking on board, according to findings from a survey by the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Centre.

The survey was carried out among passengers on a total of 72 trains on four routes, according to Roengruedi Pathanwanit, deputy director of the centre.

These are the Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Ubon Ratchathani, Bangkok-Nong Khai and Bangkok-Hat Yai-Surat Thani routes.

Conducted last year, the research was based on interviews with 578 passengers.

Dr Roengrudi said the study aimed to find out whether the smoking ban under the 2017 Tobacco Control Act had been well observed.

The law bans smoking on on platforms and on trains, as well as banning the sale of cigarettes on trains, with a maximum penalty of 5,000 baht.

The law also imposes a maximum fine of 50,000 baht for failing to display no-smoking signs in areas designated as no-smoking zones as required under the law.

Despite laws and penalties being in place, 67.4% of respondents said they had seen people smoking on board trains, while 61.5% witnessed people selling cigarettes on trains.

About 71% of respondents said they have seen people smoking on platforms, while 33.3% said they had never noticed any no-smoking signs in the platform area or on trains.

As many as 80% of respondents didn't know smoking at station platforms or on trains was against the law.

Meanwhile, the number of smoking-related deaths continues to rise despite a gradual decrease in the number of smokers over the past decade, according to Dr Kanittha Bunthamcharoen, head of the office of the Public Health Ministry's International Health Policy Programme.

One medical study in 2014 showed 54,512 people died of diseases associated with cigarette smoking, despite publicity about the dangers.

Comment: Smoking-related research on death or disease from tobacco use are based on junk science.