Smoking Rooms at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

Designated Smoking Area Signage

Image : Can Stock Photo (with permission, copyrighted)

Smoking at airports has become increasingly burdensome, and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport is no exception. The international airport has no less than 18 smoking rooms, although we never manage to find more than one. Likely there are many lounges for first class and business class passengers that allow smoking. The domestic airport at the same locations does not provide smoking rooms. Bangkok's second airport at Don Muang reportedly has 5 rooms available for smoking.

Just a quick glance is all you need to turn away from the facility at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The rooms is very small, filled with smoke, and an obvious health hazard. If not with evil intent, the place was very poorly designed, and is very poorly ventilated.

To ascertain this obvious fact, a study was needed and one by the Public Health Faculty at Mahidol University, with some interesting results and some startling suggestions. Summary published Bangkok Post dd. 8 May 2013.

Small Particle Pollution (particulate matter of less than 2.5 microgrammes) was measured and found to be astoundingly high.

In the smoking room, they measured 773.4 microgrammes per cubic metre. In areas nearby they measured 54 microgrammes per cubic metre, and even in designated non-smoking areas (that is, the rest of the airport), they measured 14 microgrammes per cubic metre.

The ventilation system was found to be of insufficient capacity.

Leasurely smoking in an armchair

Image : Can Stock Photo (with permission, copyrighted)

Instead of suggesting a solution to the problem that considers smokers, Hatai Chitanondh, the president of the Thailand Health Promotion Institute, subsequently suggested that all smoking rooms should be banned, and smokers should use nicotine chewing gum.

Likely, the president is a non-smoker, and his view on the matter is not balanced or taking into account who want to light up just a bit before boarding their possibly long flight.

An altenative solution would be to provide proper smoking rooms, four or five times larger than the present ones, with high ceilings and a proper ventilation system. But I guess, we can all just dream on, and we know what is going to happen eventually.

Smoking at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok

A smoking room at Suvarnabhumi Airport, well hidden in the departure area. Just about 12 square meters, filled with smoke, a hazard to the smokers inside, and unbecoming an international airport, that wants to be ranked amongst the best in the world.