The Thai Government introduced a ban on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or ‘vaping’), shisha smoking, and electronic shishas in 2014, for “health reasons and to discourage young people from starting to smoke”. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is reminding visitors to the country about this ban, which is part of the Tobacco Control Law, and the law prohibiting smoking in public areas.
The relative merits of vaping are not the topic of this article, merely a reminder from the TAT about the current laws.
Travellers to Thailand are advised not to bring any electronic cigarettes, shishas or any items associated with e-cigarettes, such as the ‘juice’ and scented oils used in these devices. Travel agents and tour operators should also inform their clients of the ban on these products.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is working closely with tour companies and guides to encourage tourists not to smoke in prohibited areas, including airports, sports complexes, and tourist attractions.
The recent reminder from the TAT follows the high profile extortion scandal after a Taiwanese tourist (and popular Instagrammer in Taiwan) was extorted by Bangkok police at a checkpoint for 27,000 baht. The woman had a vaping device on her at the time. The ‘shake down’ and another involving a leading Pattaya policeman last weekend, has forced the TAT to remind visitors about the serious consequences in Thai law for people using vapers in the Kingdom.
Whilst the sale of these items seems quite open in Thai street stalls, some shops and markets, tourists may get a false sense of security about the lack of enforcement of the country’s vaping laws.
The TAT remind people that outdoor places, where smoking is prohibited include public parks, zoos, amusement parks, children’s playgrounds and markets, as well as sports and exercise facilities and sporting events. Tourists who are part of guided tour groups are also expected to follow these rules.
The ban on smoking on Thai beaches across the country, which came into effect in November 2017, is also part of Thailand’s efforts to promote sustainable tourism. Six Thai airports—Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, and Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai—operated by the Airports of Thailand (AOT), were declared no-smoking zones in 2019, and all smoking rooms inside the terminals have since been closed.
The Ministry of Public Health has also listed ‘public areas of airports’ as one of several zones where smoking is prohibited and carries a fine of up to 5,000 Baht per violation.
Tourists and travellers passing through the six airports managed by AOT can find designated smoking areas outside the terminals. They can get more information by calling the AOT Contact Centre at 1722 or visiting the airport information counter.
Travellers to Thailand should should get up to speed with the ban on electronic cigarettes, shishas and associated items, as well as the law prohibiting smoking in public areas. That includes smoking cannabis products in public as well.
“The Thai Government is committed to promoting a smoke-free environment and maintaining a safe, clean and healthy atmosphere for all.”