Cigarette sales to women and children in urban Thailand

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2003 Mar;34(1):220-6.


This descriptive study aimed to document cigarette retailers' knowledge and behaviors about the minimum legal age of cigarette buyers, and their estimates of the proportion of children and women among cigarette buyers. The study was conducted among 70 shop attendants in Hat Yai and Chon Buri cities. A semi-structured interview method was used to collect data using open-ended and close-ended questions. Qualitative data gained from observation and in-depth interviews among six shop owners provided information to support data collected from semi-structured interviews. Cigarettes are sold in small family-run food and household item shops. Although cigarette sales provide limited profits, they were described as essential to attract customers. Twenty-four percent sold only Thai cigarettes, 4% sold only imported cigarettes and 72% sold both. Almost one-third said they did not know the minimum legal age and more than half sold cigarettes to persons younger than 18 years. Single Thai cigarettes were sold to poor customers and to children. A small proportion (13%) said that 50% of their cigarette customers were women. It is possible that women and children were buying for adult males. Although cigarette sales to children younger than 18 years have been prohibited in Thailand for almost ten years, this information was only acknowledged by a small proportion of the shopkeepers. More research is needed on smoking prevalence and the reasons for initiating of smoking in women and children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Commerce / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Social Control, Formal*
  • Thailand / epidemiology