Pattaya Daily News

24 February 2009 :: 21:02:14 pm 1772

Pattaya’s Inconsistent Smoking Laws

Many people noticed that when the no smoking law was passed for air-conditioned establishments, like restaurants and cafes, most venues obeyed the law. The threat of a Bt20,000 fine for the venue and Bt1000 baht fine for the customer seemed to be an effective deterrent, at first.
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The full list of prohibited smoking venues include public buses, taxis, lifts, temples and churches, public toilets, libraries and air-conditioned establishments, such as restaurants, barber’s shops, shopping malls and centres, tailor’s shops, pharmacies, gymnasiums and beauty salons.

Now, it seems, the situation appears to have changed.

Bars and restaurants in Pattaya have slowly started to allow smoking again, to the point that even air-conditioned restaurants are now allowing their customers to smoke, without the authorities apparently doing anything about it.

Throwing away cigarette ends in Bangkok can apparently get one into a world of trouble, though. Numerous Thailand websites cite instances of littering smokers being harangued by the police for doing just this, or just littering in general. In notable public locations, especially where foreigners are in abundance, like outside Emporium Shopping Centre on Sukhumvit Road, or the Immigration Department.

Just up from Emporium, police have, or had a pavement booth, where police would lay in wait for unsuspecting foreigners to drop litter, (foreigners notice, not Thais) when a culprit was spied so doing, they would be ardently pursued by a policeman on bicycle and subject to an instant (negotiable) fine. Depending on the foreigner’s naivety, the police attempted to get as much as they could.One individual was caught dropping a cigarette end and pursued, the officer initially demanded Bt1000, but the person in question eventually beat him down to Bt200. In other cases, apparently, if the culprit refuses to pay, they are taken to the nearest police station and a fine of Bt2000 demanded. If the culprit still refuses to pay, they are jailed for a day!


To return to the smoking ban in public venues, though, in view of the potential lucrativeness of enforcing such a ban, it’s indeed surprising that the Thai police haven’t taken up the practice with a vengeance and continued. PDN would appreciate readers’ comments about this phenomenon.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Legal

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