Thailand has restrictive measures on tobacco smoking and cigarette trafficking. These measures were introduced here even earlier than in Europe. The relevant act was issued in the Kingdom back in 2002. As elsewhere, the implementation of these intentions has run up against the passivity of society, a large part of which are vacationers who are used to behaving "like on vacation.
Nevertheless, over the past 15 years there have been some successes in this matter. It is not uncommon for the police to fine tourists for smoking in the wrong place for 2,000 baht. Sixty dollars is expensive, isn't it?
There are standard civilized rules aimed at restricting non-smokers from exposure to tobacco smoke, reducing the number of smokers and, at the same time, guaranteeing the rights of smokers.
Cigarettes are allowed to be smoked in Thailand:
- in private rooms (apartments, houses);
- being in your own car (for smoking in a rental car you can get fined not by the police, but by the rental company - although this is unlikely);
- in places specially designated for this purpose (parks, hotels, museums, railway stations, airports in Thailand, etc.).
Smoking is prohibited in Thailand:
- in any public premises (including hotel rooms and lobbies, bars, restaurants);
- in any public places (parks, open markets, stadiums, streets, bus stops, beaches, transport of Thailand, etc.).
This, of course, is all in the ideal. Yes, it is better to refrain from smoking on the streets of major cities, when visiting various attractions. But if you're driving and decide to have a cigarette while admiring the waves of the Gulf of Thailand, it's clear that no one is likely to give you a ticket.
As elsewhere - and in Thailand even more so than elsewhere - harsh laws are made up for by the practice of not enforcing them. For example, despite the fact that smoking is prohibited in entertainment establishments, waiters will often bring you an ashtray if you ask them. And this is despite significant fines for legal entities for smoking on their premises.
As practice shows, over time, the laws begin to be enforced more strictly. In many European countries, in Canada 10 years ago it was hard to imagine that it would be impossible to smoke in bars. But now it is. In all likelihood the same outcome should be expected in Thailand. In a year or five years, it doesn't matter.
The Thai Tobacco Monopoly (TTM) produces local cigarettes. Under their control, international tobacco brands such as Marlboro, L&M, Mild Seven, Gauloises, etc. are put on the market. 50% of cigarette, tobacco or cigar packs are occupied by frightening images of people with smoking-related diseases.
It is generally accepted that cigarettes sold in Thailand can be divided into bad and very bad. The first pack costs more than 100 baht (more than $3). A pack of the latter - up to 100 baht. As part of the government's anti-tobacco program, TTM annually increases excise taxes on tobacco products, which consequently increases the final price.
Cigarettes in Thailand are not sold to anyone under the age of 18. Cigarette displays are prohibited. Sales are made at the request of the purchaser.
In airport duty-free shops, as well as in other countries, you can buy cigarettes made outside of Thailand. You can do it, as elsewhere, only when leaving the country.
Imported tobacco products
As we can see, for people who smoke, Thailand is far from being a paradise. Cigarettes are expensive, their quality is poor, and smoking is only allowed in designated areas. Under such conditions, it is obviously better to give up smoking altogether. But if the time is not ripe, at the very least you should take a sensible, strategic approach by making sure you are tobacco-safe beforehand.
The general advice for all tourists is to bring cigarettes with you: from your home country or from duty free on departure. Everyone over the age of 18 can enter Thailand with no more than 200 cigarettes, i.e. a standard carton, or 200 grams of tobacco in bulk. For the standard 10-day vacation, it should be noted, not bad. Those who, however, goes for 1-2 months will either have to smoke locally, or quit smoking: for the latter, Thailand - a very appropriate place. Non-smoking family members or company may also have a block of cigarettes in their suitcase: it is clear that no one will check whether the person smokes or not.
According to the rules, anything over the limited quantity is subject to confiscation and even a statutory fine, because extra cigarettes, according to customs rules, are contraband. Again, it is clear that no one inspects every suitcase in order to find out how many cigarettes it contains (unless of course it is a full suitcase of cigarettes). Admittedly, there are no known cases of anyone being fined for "oversizing. Nevertheless, the above-mentioned rule does exist, and it probably makes sense to follow it in order to save yourself from possible problems when passing through airport security.
E-cigarettes and their replacement modules are not sold in Thailand. The import of these devices is prohibited by law. Individual import of e-cigarettes is not regulated in any way, i.e. allowed.
The use of these devices inside Thailand is not regulated either. So vapers can feel much more at ease than regular smokers. At least for now.