City officials begin random checks to enforce tough new anti smoking rules

PATTAYA:–Pattaya has begun daily random checks around public buildings, restaurants and other public places to enforce amendments to Thailand’s anti-smoking laws that took effect Feb. 3.

Buppa Songsakulchai of the Public Health Department’s Consumer Protection Office, said city hall regulation-enforcement officers are checking schools, public parks, beaches and other sites ensuring that smokers stand at least five meters from prohibited areas.

Promulgated in November, the amendments to the 2017 Tobacco Control Act and a 2018 Public Health Ministry directive extends no-smoking zones in and around government agencies and state enterprises to five meters.

Those caught lighting up in prohibited spaces face fines of up to 5,000 baht. Warnings will be given first.

Social media users have stated that they have seen checks conducted at length in the pratamnak hill area and Jomtien. However, users have also complained that they have seen little to no enforcement in the bar areas on Walking Street and Central pattaya.

Officials stated the checks will continue, including warnings for businesses allowing patrons to smoke.

The new smoking laws essentially mean that smoking anywhere in the tightly constrained bar districts in town, inside or outside, is against the law.