The AoT (Airports of Thailand) have decided to abolish smoking zones in all their airports, effective immediately. Offenders caught smoking in a Thai airport could now face fines of 5,000 baht, in-line with the country’s smoking ban that has affected other public places.
Previously, smokers were able to light up in designated ‘Smoking Rooms’ at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Had Yai and Chiang Rai airports, although these areas are now being dismantled as part of the new AoT regulation. New smoking areas, located away from the busier public spaces, are currently being constructed, although it is not yet clear where or when they will be ready.
The decision was made by Wing Commander Sutheewat Suwanwat, who is the AoT chief. He commented that, in spite of new legislation leaving designated areas in airports outside the nationwide smoking ban, public health was more important. From now on, smoking will be banned in indoor areas and within a five-metre radius surrounding the entrances and exits of all airports in Thailand.
Thailand’s Department of Public Health introduced a nationwide smoking ban late last year, which prohibits smoking near public buildings and public areas. This includes cafés and restaurants. The five-metre rule also applies to these places.
In addition, the smoking ban includes condos, rental buildings, pubs, hotels, religious buildings, karaoke establishments, restaurants, laundries, salons, cinemas, parking areas, spas, areas for Thai massage, clinics, hospitals, schools, swimming pools, fitness parks, clinics and ‘other places’, according to Thai Rath. The regulations also specify precisely where internal smoking areas in buildings may be located.