Women & Tobacco
Tobacco advertising is prohibited in Thailand under the 1992 Tobacco Products Control Act. Despite this however tobacco companies continue to advertise including Point of Sale Advertising, Indirect Advertising, Sponsorship and so on. Luckily, we do not have any significant advertising target on women in Thailand.
Thailand's tobacco control laws and active tobacco control movement have helped to keep women's smoking prevalence down in contrast to other countries in Asia. However the increasing presence of the transnational tobacco companies in Thailand and the influence having on the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly is already seeing an impact on smoking rates amongst young women. Results from the focus group discussion taken in 2000 has shown that young Thai women are attracted to western cigarette brands especially to Marlboro and also menthol and 'light' cigarettes. Young women feel that imported cigarettes are more sophisticated and 'upper class' than local cigarettes. There are some statements shown below:
"Young women said that they preferred 'light' cigarettes as it was 'easier to smoke.' This was another reason for their preference to foreign cigarettes." - Sang Duen Suwanratsamee, Womens Project Coordinator, ASH Thailand
However we are so happy to tell that our Thai society still do not accept the image of women smoking as a majority stated that when they went to pubs and drank alcohol they smoked but that they would not smoke on the street as other people would stare. Many of the young women said that people associated smoking by women with prostitution.
Though the number of women smokers are not much different and do not
increase in each year but we are concerned about future rises of women's
smoking. We know that Thai women are a largely untapped market to the
tobacco industry. In order to foster the traditional non-smoking values
of Thai women the "New-generation Women Don't Smoke" programme
was set up in 1995. It aims to counter the tobacco companies efforts to
get women to take up smoking. The project focuses on the effects of smoking
on beauty and on childrens' health and promotes the view that smart women
don't smoke. Our campaign is aimed at keeping Thai women's smoking prevalence
Many outstanding people attended; Dr. Prakit Vateesatokit, the Miss Thailand Universe team, popular television stars, models and singers all took part in the opening ceremony, helping to crush a giant smoking cigarette (see below).
In parallel with this event, ASH is launching a series of advertisements
aimed at young women which will be aired on TV, radio and be displayed
at Skytrain stations, in magazines and online at popular Thai website: