If you're caught smoking on the beach in Mexico, it's now going to cost you.
Mexico has banned smoking in virtually all public spaces, even outdoors. The new rules, which went into effect on Jan. 15, prohibit smoking in public places such as public squares, parks, beaches, stadiums, and on public transportation. It's an extension of a law that has been on the books since 2008 that made bars and restaurants smoke-free.
The smoking ban also applies to hotels. Guests can't smoke in their own rooms, or in common spaces, according to the law. But, hotels can designate an outdoor smoking area so long as it's at least 10 meters, or about 33 feet, from services and other facilities. Having a cigar on the beach? That's likely no longer an option, but you should now see specially marked smoking areas at most hotels.
The new changes make Mexico's anti-smoking law one of the strictest in the world, as it also includes a complete ban on advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products.
And travelers will want to think twice before lighting up or risk paying a hefty fine. Diana Cedillo, deputy director of the National Office of Tobacco Control in Mexico, told the Washington Post the fines for smoking in prohibited areas could go as high as $550 …. and possibly include jail time.
But with police corruption a very real problem in Mexico, many fear that instead of issuing real fines or punishments for smoking in restricted areas, some officers will use the new law as a conduit for taking bribes.
Only time will tell how this actually plays out, but for now, if you plan to smoke – whether it be cigarettes or cigars – just be smart and only do so in the dedicated smoking areas.
Mexico now has one of the strictest anti-smoking laws in the world. As of Jan. 15, smoking is prohibited in almost all public places, even outdoor spaces like beaches and parks.
If you're traveling to Mexico, reconsider lighting that cigar on the beach … or in any non-smoking area, as it could cost you.