BANGKOK – Thailand has introduced an new law that prohibits smoking in the home and it’s scheduled to come into effect on Aug 20th, 2019 in a bid to reduce deaths caused by second-hand smoke.
Smokers will be given 90 days to refrain from the habit, which puts relatives living under the same roof at serious health risk, according to the 2019 Family Development and Protection Act announced in the Royal Gazette.
Those who violate the law can be tried in either the juvenile or criminal courts. While no penalty has been fixed yet, the court can order violators to stop smoking in the house and/or undertake a course to quit smoking. It is not clear how the law will be enforced.
The announcement comes as anti-tobacco campaigners step up efforts to make the home environment free of cigarette and electronic cigarette smoke.
“Last year 8,278 people died of second-hand smoke,” said Ronnachai Khongsakon, chief of the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Centre.
The study found that nearly 33% of smokers puff away in their homes and that almost 74% smoke every day.
Last year, a total of 54,512 people died from diseases caused by smoking, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
In the last few years, Thailand has become increasingly strict about smoking laws as successive Thai governments have instituted new laws in an attempt to stop the nation’s high number of smoking-related deaths.
With more and more young Thais starting to smoke, the current government decided even stricter measures needed to be implemented.
Legal Age Now 20
The legal age of when you can smoke in Thailand was raised from 18 to 20.
Fines for disobeying the new law are strict. Up to three months in prison, and a fine of up to 30,000 baht.
Sellers are now also required to check IDs, and salespeople selling cigarettes must be at least 18. Stores will be fined, and could even have their license to sell cigarettes taken away.
Displaying Cigarette Brand Logos
It is now no longer legal to use cigarette brand logos on anything other than cigarette packaging. That means on posters, on clothing, on wallets or bags, or anything else it may have been allowed to be printed on before.
This also means cigarettes cannot be advertised on videos, in movie theaters, on TV, in print media or movie theaters, or be advertised at any entertainment venue.
There is also an increased fine from 2,000 baht to 5,000 baht for anyone caught smoking in a non-smoking area. This is all temples, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies, educational institutions, public parks, zoos and amusement parks.
The government can, and will, designate other areas as non-smoking where they see fit, so do find out if an area you are in is a smoking area before you light a cigarette, or you could end up paying a very hefty fine.
And, honestly, there has been little public outcry about the new law as many Thais seem to be supportive of it.
After all, not only is it a habit many people would really rather not be around, why should we have to go home stinking of smoke when all we did was be forced to stand near someone smoking?
On top of that, more than 50,000 people a year die in Thailand from smoking-related illnesses. That is what this new strict law is hoping to prevent.
No Smoking in Thai Airports — Fine of 5,000 Baht
As of February 3rd, all Thailand airports operated by Airports of Thailand (AoT) have banned all smoking on or near their premises. If caught, it is an immediate 5,000 baht fine.
These airports are Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai and Mae Fah Luang..
And, if you want to see a possibly effective way of getting people to stop smoking, watch the campaign run by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation against smoking in Thailand in the video below. It’s kind of sad when you think about it, just how little people care about themselves.
No smoking at Thai Beaches
The new regulations add to existing laws which prohibit smoking at a number of beaches in Thailand. At the moment, no smoking signs at beaches aren’t always clear and smokers need to be extra careful not to break the law. There is also the likelihood in the future that more of Thailand’s beaches will be no smoking zones.
Visitors to the kingdom should also note that Thailand prohibits vaping and e-cigarettes. Although the law isn’t always enforced, there have been cases of tourists being arrested for vaping in public.