Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

November, 2002:

Thailand curbs indoor smoking

Published in the SCMP on Saturday, November 9, 2002

A tough new anti-smoking law came into effect yesterday in Thailand, making it illegal to light up in virtually every indoor public place including air-conditioned restaurants and shopping malls.

Business establishments that fail to control smoking by patrons will face fines of up to 20,000 baht (HK$3,600) and the smokers will be hit for 2,000 baht under regulations made public in August.

Pubs and other night entertainment places are exempt because they are not frequented by children.

Thailand has had a strong anti-smoking lobby and is one of the few Asian countries to make a serious effort to highlight the dangers of tobacco since the 1970s. Many public places were already smoke-free and the new law widens the scope by including restaurants and other areas.

But realising the difficulty of enforcing the ban uniformly, the Public Health Ministry has said that it would initially focus only on air-conditioned restaurants, sending out inspectors for surprise checks.

“Thailand’s tobacco control efforts are being hailed as among the most successful in Asia, with new regulations implemented every year. How effective these regulations are when put to the test remains to be seen,” the Bangkok Post said yesterday.

The Post noted that tobacco companies continued to promote their products indirectly through sponsorship of sport and entertainment.

According to the Thailand Tobacco Information Centre, 23.4 per cent of Thais, or about 12 million people, smoke.

Apart from anti-smoking laws, Thailand also is trying to prevent youngsters from taking up the habit. The Public Health Ministry says 95 per cent of smokers in Thailand start before they are 24.

The government recently announced plans to replace worded warnings of health hazards on cigarette packs with pictures depicting cancerous lungs and problems such as premature ageing, birth defects and impotence.

Among places made off limits to smokers under the new law are public buses, taxis, lifts, temples and churches, public toilets, libraries and air-conditioned establishments such as shopping malls and gyms.

In schools, museums, hospitals, banks, airports and indoor stadiums, smoking will be allowed only in restrooms and private offices.

Except for Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, Asian countries have some of the world’s weakest tobacco control laws, according to the World Health Organisation. It says smoking is the single biggest killer globally, accounting for one in three middle-age male deaths.

Tax, Price and Cigarette Smoking

Tobacco Control 2002;11:i62-i72


Tax, price and cigarette smoking: evidence from the tobacco documents and implications for tobacco company marketing strategies

F J Chaloupka1, K M Cummings2, CP Morley2, JK Horan2

1 Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
2 Department of Cancer Prevention, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA

Correspondence to:
F J Chaloupka, Department of Economics (m/c 144), University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 South Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607-7121, USA;


Objective: To examine tobacco company documents to determine what the companies knew about the impact of cigarette prices on smoking among youth, young adults, and adults, and to evaluate how this understanding affected their pricing and price related marketing strategies.

Methods: Data for this study come from tobacco industry documents contained in the Youth and Marketing database created by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and available through http://, supplemented with documents obtained from

Results: Tobacco company documents provide clear evidence on the impact of cigarette prices on cigarette smoking, describing how tax related and other price increases lead to significant reductions in smoking, particularly among young persons. This information was very important in developing the industry’s pricing strategies, including the development of lower price branded generics and the pass through of cigarette excise tax increases, and in developing a variety of price related marketing efforts, including multi-pack discounts, couponing, and others.

Conclusions: Pricing and price related promotions are among the most important marketing tools employed by tobacco companies. Future tobacco control efforts that aim to raise prices and limit price related marketing efforts are likely to be important in achieving reductions in tobacco use and the public health toll caused by tobacco.

Tobacco Industry Manipulation Research Paper

Tobacco Control 2002;11:94-104


Tobacco Industry Manipulation of the hospitality industry to maintain smoking in public places

J V Dearlove, S A Bialous, S A Glantz

Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Institute for Health Policy Studies, Cardiovascular Research Institute, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA

Correspondence to:

Stanton A Glantz, PhD, Box 0103, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0130, USA; Objective: To describe how the tobacco industry used the “accommodation” message to mount an aggressive and effective worldwide campaign to recruit hospitality associations, such as restaurant associations, to serve as the tobacco industry’s surrogate in fighting against smoke-free environments.

Methods: We analysed tobacco industry documents publicly available on the internet as a result of litigation in the USA. Documents were accessed between January and November 2001.

Results: The tobacco industry, led by Philip Morris, made financial contributions to existing hospitality associations or, when it did not find an association willing to work for tobacco interests, created its own “association” in order to prevent the growth of smoke-free environments. The industry also used hospitality associations as a vehicle for programmes promoting “accommodation” of smokers and non-smokers, which ignore the health risks of second hand smoke for employees and patrons of hospitality venues.

Conclusion: Through the myth of lost profits, the tobacco industry has fooled the hospitality industry into embracing expensive ventilation equipment, while in reality 100% smoke-free laws have been shown to have no effect on business revenues, or even to improve them. The tobacco industry has effectively turned the hospitality industry into its de facto lobbying arm on clean indoor air. Public health advocates need to understand that, with rare exceptions, when they talk to organised restaurant associations they are effectively talking to the tobacco industry and must act accordingly.