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Smoking Ban To Be Soon Implemented In South East Asian Bars

South East Asia has been long considered a wonderland for smokers as they could have their puff in bars, hotel lobbies or restaurants without any inhibition. // Sad news alas for these happy folks as the government is seriously thinking about imposing a smoking ban in entertainment venues and bars.

In Malaysia and Thailand, smoking bans already exist in air-conditioned restaurants, government offices, airports and other public venues like shopping malls.

'Actually the government wanted to sign the law last December,' said Prakit Vathesatogkit, head of Thailand's Anti-Smoking Foundation.

'It's just that the officials had not prepared the documents to include bars and night clubs in the bill banning smoking in hotel lobbies, but the minister was ready to sign them.'

Thailand, which along with Singapore is at the forefront of the region's anti-smoking campaign, has enacted a host of restrictions on the tobacco industry including bans on cigarette advertisements, on smoking in most public places and requirements that all cigarette packs include graphic photos depicting the ill effects of tobacco on health.

Last year the government banned cigarette displays at points of sale, making Thailand only the third country in the world to do so.

The result? Thailand's puffer population has stagnated at about 10 million over the past decade, falling as a percentage of the population.

'We estimate there are four million less smokers than would have been without two decades of anti-smoking campaigns,' said Prakit.

In Singapore, smoking in buses and cinemas was banned way back in 1970 and is now prohibited in schools, courts, buses, taxis and air-conditioned public places as well as pools, open-air stadiums, bus shelters and toilets.

'Any person caught smoking in these places is liable to be prosecuted in court for a fine of up to $618 (1,000 Singapore dollars),'
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