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 younger Thais starting to smoke, the current government decided even stricter measures needed to be implemented.
These measures went into effect as of July 4, 2017 with the Tobacco Products Control Act of 2017 (TPCA).
So what will this new law change when it comes to smoking in public places in Thailand, or to who is allowed to buy or sell cigarettes in Thailand? Quite a lot, actually.
Legal age now 20
The new law immediately changes the legal age of when you can smoke in Thailand from 18 to 20. So those who have been smoking since they were 18, but have not yet hit 20, will not be able to legally buy cigarettes or smoke again until they have.
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 to 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.