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Thailand bans Smoking in Pubs, Restaurants, Clubs and Market Places

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Friday, 15 February 2008

Thailand has further extended a national ban on smoking in public areas to include pubs, restaurants, discos and market-places, both open-air and air-conditioned.

Previously, the regulations applied only to public buildings and closed air-conditioned areas. The regulations took effect February 11, 2008.

Individual violators can be fined as much as 2,000 baht (US$65). If any public places violate the rules, they will be warned but after May 31, 2008, they are supposed to be fined 20,000 baht. 

Smokers are however permitted to smoke in designated areas which the affected places will have to set aside. Many pubs such as Molly Malone's have converted their second level as their smoking area while the downstairs has become completely non smoking.

Numerous public places in Thailand are planning to distribute brochures and post signs in at least five languages such as Thai, English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese to inform tourists of the new regulation.

Thailand is estimated to have over 11 million smokers nationwide and over 40,000 restaurants, pubs, bars and marketplaces.

The initiative comes in the wake of a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) calling on countries to strengthen tobacco control measures as a means of preventing tens of millions of premature deaths by the middle of this century.

The report recommended a package of six policies called MPOWER for countries to implement, such as: monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit tobacco use; warning about the dangers of tobacco; enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raising taxes on tobacco.

The MPOWER package is designed to help countries meet their commitments to the widely embraced global tobacco treaty known as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into force in 2005.

The report contained a very specific warning to the developing world, where 80% of the more than eight million annual tobacco-related deaths projected by 2030 are expected to occur.

The global analysis, compiled by WHO with information provided by 179 Member States, gives governments and other groups a baseline from which to monitor efforts to stop the epidemic in the years ahead.

Thailand has attempted to ban smoking in bars in the past, with very mixed results. Only time will tell how strongly this regulation will now be enforced, and how designated smoking areas will be regulated, especially in open-air areas.

See other recent news regarding: Travel News Asia, Thailand, Smoking, Smoke Free, Bars in Bangkok, Bars

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