Patong Beach Smoking Ban Winning Public Support
The ban smoking at Patong Beach has gained a majority of support in an online poll by The Phuket News, though only a clear minority support the ban in its current heavy-handed form.
The ban by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) technically came into effect on the 1st of this month.
However, instead of instantly enforcing the heavy penalties – a fine of up to 100,000 Thai Baht, or even up to one year in jail – DMCR officials opted to launch a 90-day “grace period” while they roll out a public awareness campaign.
As such, no people will be charged until 1st February 2018, DMCR Director-General Jatuporn Buruspat has confirmed.
So far the ban is to be introduced at 24 beaches in the country, but in Phuket only at Patong Beach. Until further notice, the ban is not to apply to any other beaches on the island, Mr Jatuporn has said.
The heavy penalties stirred a storm of debate online, with some people voicing their full support for the move, while others say the penalties are far too heavy for such an offence – and that was before it was made clear that using e-cigarettes, or “vaping”, was also included in the ban.
To this, The Phuket News recently asked its readers, “How serious should the beach smoking ban be?”
While 43% of the people who responded to the poll thought the ban was a ridiculous idea, a whopping 57% of respondents said they supported the ban but 36% (of the 57% who support the ban) said that they thought the potential penalties are a bit too much - ‘outrageous’ was the word they used!
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