It’s been on the cards for a while, but finally Banglamung District Licensing Unit has issued an urgent letter, which confirms an immediate ban on the sale and use of shisha in entertainment venues in Pattaya.
The letter dated 29th May was circulated around the Pattaya bars informing all bar owners, managers and staff that shisha is now officially banned and that the authorities would now be enforcing this.
The document clearly states that any bar owner caught selling shisha can now be imprisoned for up to 5 years and/or receive a fine of up to 500,000. Also any bar owner found responsible for someone dying or becoming seriously injured relating to the sale and use of Shisha in their establishment could be imprisoned for up to 10 years and/or receive a fine of up to 1 million Baht.
The letter also warns that any Police Officers who offer protection to Shisha bars in exchange for money so they can continue to sell and use Shisha must be reported to the Banglamung District Licensing Unit. This type of protection is illegal and ultimately will not save the bar owners from prosecution.
There are so many bars and clubs in Pattaya that sell Shisha and allow customers to smoke the Shisha Tabaco that enforcing this new legislation will not be easy. The number easily runs into the hundreds. Open street bars that were selling Shisha will be the easiest to control as they are in plain view, but closed bars in discreet areas will be harder to police.
Most bars will comply with the letter, but some will take a chance. It will be a busy closed bar that sells Shisha now for sure, until they get busted of course.
In the next few weeks there will be stories circulating about bars getting busted, but when the dust has settled, many will try their luck and sell Shisha once more.
A better way to enforce this rule would be to implement heavy fines and consequences for the users too. Many people would see this as a step too far.
Smoking cigarettes has been banned in all public places in Thailand for well over 10 years and in 2008 further restrictions were added. It is illegal to smoke in a bar, restaurant, establishments open to the public and at open air markets for example. Offenders can face a 2,000 Baht fine and the establishment face up to a 20,000 Baht fine for not complying. This also includes displaying mandatory ‘no smoking’ signs!
Most legal bars comply with these laws, but there are many bars in Pattaya that do not comply…