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The use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, on Patong Beach will be considered the same as “smoking” and offenders may incur a fine of up to B100,000 or even a year in jail, a leading local Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) officer confirmed yesterday (Nov 9).
Vaping in public is already illegal in Thailand as it is by law already considered the same as smoking, Watcharin Thintalang Director of the Phuket DMCR’s Marine and Coastal Management Division, told The Phuket News.
“E-cigarettes, or vaping, create smoke and that is banned under the same DMCR regulation (for banning smoking at the beaches). Vaping is ‘smoking’, and that breaks the law,” he said.
“However, as with regular smokers, people can use their e-cigarettes in the dedicated smoking areas,” Mr Watcharin confirmed.
Mr Watcharin repeated the warning that DMCR officials will start charging people for breaching Section 17 of the 2015 law on marine and beach resources management – which means that people caught smoking on Patong Beach after the 90-day amnesty may face a fine of up to B100,000 or even up to one year in jail for a breach of the act.
“We will start to issue fines on February 1.” he said.
Local DMCR officials in Phuket have launched a public-awareness campaign to warn people of the impending ban, which technically came into effect on Nov 1.
However, DMCR Director-General Jatuporn Buruspat assured The Phuket News that fines will be levied after a 90-day “grace period”. (See story here.)
Patong Municiaplity has installed smoking areas along the Patong beachfront ahead of the crackdown, which will come in the middle of the tourism high season for the high season.