Beach smoking ban delayed until February

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The government has delayed enforcement of its smoking ban on Pattaya and other popular beaches to better educate the public about the cost of lighting up on the sand.
The government has delayed enforcement of its smoking ban on Pattaya and other popular beaches to better educate the public about the cost of lighting up on the sand.

PATTAYA – The government has delayed enforcement of its smoking ban on Pattaya and other popular beaches to better educate the public about the cost of lighting up on the sand.

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 sentenced to 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. By Nov. 2 no signs had been erected on any beach and plenty of sunbathers and vendors were puffing away as normal.

A few municipal police officers were seen on Pattaya Beach informing people of the ban.

Kalong Pongsrisai, 43, a Jomtien Beach vendor, said she smokes, but tries to keep it on the down-low as many of her customers don’t. She said she also uses an ash tray and doesn’t throw butts on the sand.

Other beaches on the banned list are Bangsaen and Tham Pang on Koh Si Chang, Mae Phim in Rayong and Laem Sing in Chanthaburi. The ban is expected to be widened to all public beachfronts eventually.