BANGKOK, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The Public Health Ministry of Thailand has announced a ban on the sale of cigarettes in prison.
The directive was published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday.
The ministry's directive invoked articles 5 and 29 of the Tobacco Control Act to declare that all prisons are categorized as places where tobacco and cigarettes cannot be sold.
The ban will take effect 60 days after the directive was published in the Royal Gazette.
Officials said the ban is required because prisons were regarded as state facilities and hence came within the ambit of the smoking ban.
They said once sent to jail, an inmate can use this as an opportunity to quit smoking and do other useful activities such as disciplinary training or vocational skill training.
Prisons nationwide were said to have a higher ratio of smokers compared to other sites and secondhand smoke also posed harm to the health of non-smoking inmates and wardens.
Prisons in Thailand have since 2008 arranged cells as no-smoking zones and set up smoking areas outside the building, according to reports.