Phuket Sun Sets on Smoking Tourists – Phuket Wan December 13, 2010

Pathomporn Kaenkrachang

TOURISTS from China, Korea and Indonesia are likely to be dismayed at a new order banning smoking outdoors at Phuket’s popular Cape Promthep and around the lagoon at nearby Nai Harn.  In a progressive move towards better health, Phuket’s first ban on smoking in an outdoor area will go into action from January 1.  Seven warning signs in five languages already dot the cape area with two more at the Nai Harn lagoon.  People who puff despite the ban will incur a 2000 baht fine. However, the countries where Phuket has most to lose also happen to be the ones showing a greatest increase in arrivals: China, Indonesia, Korea, and Russia.

Only in Russia are authorities reacting, producing packs with ”smoking kills” warnings this year for the first time.

In Indonesia, two-year-olds are sometimes encouraged to smoke. In China, where two trillion cigarettes are inhaled each year, smoking is not only indulged after dinner but during dinner. In Korea, the number of smokers increased this year to almost a quarter of the population, with 43 percent of men admitting to being puffers.

So the Mayor of Rawai, Aroon Sorod, is boldly making a statement that ties Phuket with good health by implementing the ban. The notion is to prevent non-smokers inhaling smoke or deadly air exhaled by smokers.

How will tourists react?

Judging by what we know of the habits of Chinese and Korean tourists who s moke, we believe the puffers will light up in the car park out of habit.

Then they will enter the no-smoking zone, timing their visit to the the sunset viewing area at Cape Promthep so that they are not without a fix for too long.

The no-smoking zone begins at the foot of the stairs, which are long enough to be a test for the fitness of non-smokers as well as smokers.

Nearby at the Nai Harn lagoon, the smoking ban will also be imposed in support of the healthy activities performed by joggers, cyclists and walkers. The only puffers here will be those breathing fresh air.

Phuket already bans smoking in air-conditioned premises, including restaurants.

Source: Phuket Wan

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