Pattaya makes effort to reinforce beach smoking ban

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Officials warn a pair tourists who were found smoking on the beach that they could be fined if they don’t move to the designated smoking areas when they light up.
Officials warn a pair tourists who were found smoking on the beach that they could be fined if they don’t move to the designated smoking areas when they light up.

Pattaya officials once again began warning tourists they can only light up in designated areas on Pattaya and Dongtan beaches.

Municipal enforcement chief Pol. Maj. Jeerawat Sukontasap led officers and Environment Department staffers to Pattaya Beach Aug. 9 after a flurry of press reports showed the shoreline littered with cigarette butts and not an enforcement officer in sight.

After walking the beach and chatting with sun worshippers, the city hall officials pronounced the beach smoke-free and returned to their offices.

Beach chair vendor Saranya Yingyodrum said most tourists had complied with the smoking ban, but some still lit up, even after she put chairs in smoking zones.

Speedboat operator Natpatchana Hongyon said guests headed to Koh Larn also often began smoking on the beach, but tour guides told them about fines, which could run up to 100,000 baht.

Jeerawat said that city hall officers cannot, in fact, fine smokers 100,000 baht. The maximum city hall can ding people for is 2,000 baht for violating city cleanliness laws. If Department of Marine and Coastal Resources inspectors catch smokers – or a case is referred to them – the department has the power to levy the higher fines.

He noted that officers usually will simply warn offenders a first time.