Marine chief defends beach smoking ban

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The regional director of the Marine and Coastal Resources Department, Thanet Mannoi, meets with foreign tourists in Pattaya to explain why Thailand has banned smoking on its beaches.
The regional director of the Marine and Coastal Resources Department, Thanet Mannoi, meets with foreign tourists in Pattaya to explain why Thailand has banned smoking on its beaches.

PATTAYA – The regional director of the Marine and Coastal Resources Department, Thanet Mannoi, met with foreign tourists in Pattaya to explain why Thailand has banned smoking on its beaches.

Thanet Mannoi, accompanied by Pattaya legal chief Sretapol Boonsawat, surveyed Dongtan Beach Dec. 7 to check on the implementation of the ban, which will not be enforced until Feb. 1.

They checked that 44 beach vendors were not smoking themselves and not selling cigarettes to beach-goers. They also inspected a designated smoking area away from the beach chairs and umbrellas.

Thanet and his deputies planned to provide foreigners with a better justification for outlawing tobacco on the beach, explaining that not only is second-hand smoke dangerous to those nearby, cigarette butts account for the majority of beach pollution.

Once enforced, the law could see smokers fined up to 100,000 baht and spend a year in jail.

Long-time vendor Manop Sakorn said most foreigners should already realize that smoking is banned on an increasing number of beaches around the world as concerns about pollution increase.

However, he acknowledged, most of his customers think the severity of the penalties are ridiculous.

The “smoking area” currently is a series of chairs placed behind the umbrellas. The measure is temporary until enclosed areas can be constructed. Smoking also is allowed near the public toilets.