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 5,550 travelers staying in various hotels in Bangkok, Surat Thani, Phuket, Krabi, and Songkhla provinces, October 2005 to December 2006.Travelers aged 15 years or older with a check-in duration of at least one day, 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 recognized as harmful to health by 89.7% of respondents. 47.8% of travelers were aware of the Thai regulation banning smoking in air-conditioned restaurants. 80.9% of the respondents agreed with the ban, particularly female nonsmokers. 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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