Pattaya lights fire under smoking ban PR effort

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Wuthipol Charoenpol, Supaporn Cherdchaiphum, and Sretapol Boonsawat have met with beach vendors, tourism officials and city workers to outline the Anti-Smoking PR campaign.
Wuthipol Charoenpol, Supaporn Cherdchaiphum, and Sretapol Boonsawat have met with beach vendors, tourism officials and city workers to outline the Anti-Smoking PR campaign.

Pattaya has launched a full-scale public relations blitz to educate vendors and tourists about Thailand’s ban on smoking on the beach before it is enforced Feb. 1.

City Secretary Wuthipol Charoenpol and public health chief Supaporn Cherdchaiphum met Nov. 22 with beach vendors, tourism officials and city workers to outline the PR campaign.

Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources has implemented a smoking ban on 20 of the country’s beaches, including Pattaya and Jomtien.

This is all due to massive amount of cigarette butts being collected from public beaches and research confirms they could be harmful to the environment. The ban was to take effect Nov. 1.

Under the new law, smokers could be fined up to 100,000 baht and even a year in prison.

However, public backlash and unpreparedness by local officials forced the government to backpedal and postpone enforcement of the ban until Feb. 1.

Pattaya clearly was unprepared to do anything about smoking on the beach, failing to erect any signage on any beach.

Authorities will spend the next two months getting ready. However, acknowledging the criticism of the ban, Pattaya is seeking permission to zone an area of each local beach as a smoking zone. Approval is pending.