Patong City Administration Organisation on Tuesday opened the smoking areas in order to encourage the people not to smoke and drop cigarette butts on the beach, and instead support the department's new policy.
Patong Beach is among the first 24 beaches where the smoking ban will be introduced around the country through next February, as the MCRD applies the Marine and Coastal Resources Management Act to enforce the ban. Violators of the ban will be punished with a maximum of one year in jail and/or a fine of up to Bt100,000 (S$4,100).
Patong City mayor Chalermluck Kebsab said his authority had designated the smoking areas along Patong Beach in order to reduce the amount of littered cigarette butts on the beach, prevent disruption to those who do not smoke, and encourage the public to follow the smoking ban on the beach.
All 20 smoking areas are installed with clear signage informing people that they are designated areas where they allowed to light up.
From a first-day inspection, Chalermluck said that most locals and tourists had co-operated well and smoked only in a designated area.
However, it was noticeable that there was still a sizable distance between each smoking area and there were still no signs to explain the rule about not smoking on the beach.
"In order to support the MCRD's policy of a smoking ban on the beach, the local authorities are also working with MCRD officers to inform local businesses and tourists about this policy," the mayor said.
"There will also be the distribution of leaflets in multiple languages informing about the smoking ban and smoking areas, at the hotels as well," he added.