Tourists’ attitudes towards ban on smoking in air-conditioned hotel lobbies in Thailand

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Abstract

Background:

Thailand is internationally renowned for its stringent tobacco control measures. In Thailand, a regulation banning smoking in air-conditioned hotel lobbies was issued in late 2006, causing substantial apprehension within the hospitality industry. A survey of tourists’ attitudes toward the ban was conducted.

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey of 5550 travellers staying in various hotels in Bangkok, Surat Thani, Phuket, Krabi and Songkhla provinces, October 2005 to December 2006. Travellers aged 15 years or older with a check-in duration of at least one day and willing to complete the questionnaire were requested by hotel staff to fill in the 5-minute questionnaire at check-in or later at their convenience.

Results:

Secondhand cigarette smoke was recognised as harmful to health by 89.7% of respondents. 47.8% of travellers were aware of the Thai regulation banning smoking in air-conditioned restaurants. 80.9% of the respondents agreed with the ban, particularly female non-smokers. 38.6% of survey respondents indicated that they would be more likely to visit Thailand again because of the regulation, 53.4% that the regulation would not affect their decision and 7.9% that they would be less likely to visit Thailand again.

Conclusion:

Banning smoking in air-conditioned hotel lobbies in Thailand is widely supported by tourists. Enforcement of the regulation is more likely to attract tourists than dissuade them from holidaying in Thailand.

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