Smoking in Thailand: All About Thailand's Strict Laws & the Penalty

The National Statistical Office has been conducting regular National Surveys since 1976 in Thailand to keep a record of tobacco usage in the country. On the one hand, the number of tobacco consumers has decreased substantially in the country over the past 16 years, and on the other hand, the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand has been introducing stricter laws regarding the same. Let's delve into further details on the laws of smoking in Thailand. 

Changes in the Laws

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Recently, the Ministry introduced a new rule stating that smokers cannot light a cigarette near the entrances or exits of public buildings. The restriction applies to at least five metres demarcated as “exclusive zone” from the entry or exit. “No smoking” signs have been put up at the places which have been considered as hot spots for smoking.  
Public Places Where Smoking is Banned
  • Shopping malls
  • Zoos
  • Airports
  • Amusement and water parks
  • Cinemas and other entertainment venues
  • Many Hotels
  • Schools
  • Temples
  • Public toilets
  • Libraries
The age limit of smoking in Thailand was also increased from 18 to 20 in 2017 following an amendment to Thailand’s Tobacco Control Act. The change also included the limit of selling cigarettes to be 20 in one pack.

Smoking at Airports

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Although the airports of Thailand come under the public buildings which are deemed illegal for smoking in Thailand, some airports have announced that there would be designated smoking areas. However, the follow up on this announcement is not very clear. To be on the safer side, it is better to check the area for any official banning signs for smoking.

No Smoking at the Beaches

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The activity is banned on many beaches of Thailand. Initially, only 24 beaches came under this restriction, but gradually more and more beaches are being included in the list. The primary reason for this ban is surveyed that show cigarette butt litter in the sand at the beaches. Some of the beaches that come under this are Phuket (Patong Beach), Koh Samui (Bophut beach), Pattani (Wa Sukhri beach), Rayong (Mae Phim beach), etc. The fine imposed on people caught smoking in Thailand on the beaches is 100,000 THB and one-year imprisonment.

Ban on Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping

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Electronic cigarettes and vaping are illegal in Thailand. This includes their sale as well as an import in the country. Any person caught in the act is liable to 10 years of imprisonment along with exceptional several times the price of the product. As a tourist, if you are trying to carry an electronic cigarette for your purposes, you would be asked to pay a fine and the material would be confiscated. There have been cases of foreign travellers being arrested on the spot or paying the penalty for indulging in the usage of electronic cigarettes. Though the item is used in many places, it is advisable to stay away from it during your stay in Thailand.

Penalty for Smoking in Thailand

The maximum fine for smoking in Thailand is 100,000 THB and one-year imprisonment. This amount is commonly charged if the activity occurs illegally on a banned beach. Witnessing the growing beach pollution due to cigarette butts, the Thai government has taken strict measures and passed stringent laws to overcome the situation. The fine for smoking illegally in prohibited places like shopping malls, office buildings, government buildings, etc. is 2000-5000THB. 

It is essential that one follows these laws and regulations in Thailand to avoid any undesired consequence. As a tourist or as a citizen, it is necessary to be familiar with the rules and announcements of the country. One should aim at adhering to these laws regarding smoking in Thailand to avoid paying a hefty tax or jail time.

This post was published by Archita Zutshi

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