Many Expats may not realize it but smoking in public and work places is now illegal in Vietnam as of January 1st, 2010. As per many of the Vietnamese laws, though, it is not being strictly enforced. Many coffee shops and restaurants still have ash trays on the tables. I was at Highlands over a week ago and told them that there is a smoking ban. They had no idea and allowed the customers to continue puffing away.
Yesterday at Obrien’s, I heard the waitress tell an Expat that the law only applies to Vietnamese, not foreigners. I thought it was a little funny.
This law is interesting in that both the violaters and owners of the establishments must pay the fine which ranges from 50,000-100,000 VND ($1.64-2.68 US).
You know, this could be a good moneymaker for the authorities if they do it right. You know, go to a club late at night which is normally smoke packed. Then fine the owner for the number of people that are there (since there are no way to determine who really is smoking) and multiply that by 2 (owner has to pay the fine for the patrons as well since nobody knows who really are smoking). Depending on the size of the club, the fine could be around $1500-3000 US. Multiply that by the many, many clubs open in Saigon, or Hanoi, each day and you could buy yourself a nice Mercedes after a week!
Hey, just an idea… 🙂
Edit: The law for restaurants, cafes, etc., will be enforced next year. Read the comments below…