Despite its laid-back culture, Cancun has stepped up anti-smoking efforts recently, and starting this week, police will start fining smokers on public beaches months after officials approved a new smoking law.
Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean have enacted some of the strictest anti-tobacco laws in the country this year; however, residents and travelers continue to smoke in public places, including the beach.
Officials have said that starting this week, they will increase policing of Cancun beaches and fine smokers.
Here’s the latest on Cancun’s anti-smoking law:
Despite New Law, Smoking On Beaches Remains Prevalent
Earlier this year, Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean adopted one of the strictest anti-smoking laws in the world – at least on paper. The landmark framework prohibits smoking in a range of public spaces, including hotels, resorts, and beaches .
With travel numbers soaring, officials want to improve Cancun’s reputation as a safe and welcoming destination, one in which the effects of second-hand smoke don’t affect travelers.
Starting this week, police and other law enforcement will be carrying out more regular checks at Cancun beaches to enforce the city’s smoking ban.
According to authorities, smoking remains prevalent across Cancun’s beaches, either due to ignorance of the new law or, in some cases, unwillingness to comply.
While it’s true that police have been lax in applying the new law, starting this week, things are expected to change with more patrols, warnings, and in some cases, fines or even arrests.
In a statement published last week, the Federal Commission Against Health Risks (Cofepris) said that law enforcement personnel will begin issuing verbal warnings to tourists caught smoking on public beaches.
Those caught breaking that law for a second time will face fines, which vary based on the severity of the violation.
“Travelers and locals who don’t respect the new smoking laws at Cancun beaches will be warned verbally. Many visitors are accustomed to other types of rules, but here, they must comply with our regulations, which is why we’ll give out a warning, although repeat offenders will be fined,” Jaime Torres Viveors, a local representative of the health and safety board said in a media interview.
Travelers in the coastal resort city may have already come across signs warning about the new law.
Officials have installed several signs around public beaches – including in Caracol, Defines, and Marlín – stating that the consumption of any type of product containing tobacco or nicotine is strictly prohibited.
Officials are also sprucing up Cancun beaches ahead of the busy summer by removing cigarette and vape vending machines. With millions of travelers expected to flood Cancun’s beaches over the coming months, authorities want to ensure a welcoming and safe environment for travelers.
There are more than 20 vaping machines on Cancun beaches currently, where travelers can still purchase electronic cigarettes.
Even though they’re a healthier alternative compared to traditional cigarettes, Cancun officials would like to create an entirely smoke-free environment to promote healthy habits.
Officials are also working with restaurants and other businesses to ensure compliance with the region’s new anti-smoking law, which prohibits the use of nicotine products in a range of public spaces.
The law has sparked controversy among Cancun firms, many of which say the new regulations could damage business.
Although police have been slow to enforce the new laws, travelers and residents that smoke on public beaches could face significant penalties, including fines or arrest.
Repeat offenders could be jailed for up to 36 hours, although for now, it remains unclear just how many people have faced sanctions over the new law.
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