The ban by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) technically came into effect on Nov 1.
However, instead of instantly enforcing the heavy penalties – a fine of up to B100,000, 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 Feb 1, DMCR Director-General Jatuporn Buruspat assured The Phuket News.
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 said. (See story here.)
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 offense – and that was before it was made clear that using e-cigarettes, or “vaping”, was also included in the ban. (See story here.)
To this, The Phuket News asked readers, “How serious should the beach smoking ban be?”
Only 21% of respondents voted, “I fully support the ban and the penalties. The ban with these penalties should be enforced at all beaches.”
A further 36% voted, “I support the ban, but the new heavy penalties are outrageous. Police have for years already had the option of fining people B2,000 for littering.”
However, 43% of all respondents to the poll voted, “It’s ridiculous. There should be no ban on smoking at beaches at all.”
To see the full poll results, click here.
If your preferred response is not available, feel free to add it in the comments below.
To see the results of our previous poll, asking “Where should Phuket croc ‘Leypang’ go?”, click here.
If you have a suggestion for a poll, email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Poll Suggestion” in the Subject line.