April 13, 2009 - Thailand thought they had enforce a total ban on smoking but they now find out they left out locations where monks can be found. The Public Health Ministry will issue a total ban on smoking in temples nationwide, following the discovery that over 18,000 monk smokers were suffering or had died from chronic diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, and pulmonary emphysema.
Mekong river monk network's secretary general, Abbot Maha Worawuth Panyawuttho: "We have seen that over the past few years most monks suffered from smoking or exposure to second hand smoke. The campaign to ban smoking in temples will be a good model for communities to give up smoking, as the temple is the community center for practicing religious activities. Giving cigarettes to monks is a bad value for Buddhist society, he added."
The smokefree law passed in November 2002 banned smoking in covered indoor public places, including air-conditioned restaurants but exempted nightclubs and bars. Thailand Joined Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking when it extended its ban on smoking to air-conditioned bars and offices and outdoor markets in February 2008.
Reference: Death of monks prompts ban on smoking in temples by Pongphon Sarnsamak, The Nation, 4/10/2009.
Some other Thailand news briefs: Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..; Thailand - cigarette and liquor prices are expected to rise once new measures for calculating excise taxes take effect..; Congratulations.. Thailand Joins Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking..; Discouraging Tobacco Use - Horrific Images on the Packaging..