The next couple weeks will be a big test for the brand new anti-tobacco law that went into effect on January 15 in Los Cabos and the rest of Mexico.
With more than 40,000 spring visitors, mostly coming from the United States, the expected enforcement of the rule over the next five weeks could have a significant impact on the experience visitors have in the resort destination.
The General Law For Tobacco Control
On January 15, Los Cabos put a new anti-tobacco law, called the General Law For Tobacco Control, into effect in the community, which prohibits smoking inside of establishments, such as restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, as well as public outdoor areas like beaches.
People caught in violation of the new law, and fail to put out their cigarette when requested by police or a local official, could be subject to fines up to $9,000 pesos, or approximately $500, for the first occurrence and up to $100,000 pesos, or more than $5,500, for repeat offenses.
According to local officials, the law was put into place not only because of the unhealthy behavior of smoking and the risk of secondhand smoke on others but also because of the unsightly waste of discarded cigarette butts on the streets and beaches in Los Cabos.
Stepping Up The Local Enforcement
Most business owners in Los Cabos claim that the enforcement of the new law has actually been lax since put into place in mid-January. That has since changed with the start of the peak Spring season.
The State Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks in Los Cabos has stepped up the enforcement of the law in response to the increase in visitor traffic.
They have started enforcement visits in key tourist restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in the center of the tourist area in Los Cabos. They say their main objective is to make recommendations so that the law is applied correctly and help businesses avoid fines.
The state commission has also stepped up the public education outreach to tourists about the new law in order to achieve compliance and avoid charging fines.
Tourists React Negatively To New Law
Merchants in Los Cabos are already complaining about the impact that it has had on customers.
So far, there has been a total ignorance of the law by tourists, and when told about the new law and the requirement to extinguish their cigarettes, most tourists have been less than happy. This has impacted the guest image of Los Cabos as a resort destination.
It’s important to remember that while most of the spring tourist traffic is from the United States, there are also a number of visitors from other countries also vacationing in Los Cabos.
Impact on Local Businesses
Los Cabos businesses are anticipating that the 40,000 students in town for the next five weeks of the peak spring season will have an impact of more than $20 million.
Many local bars, nightclubs and restaurants are eagerly looking forward to a more than 100 percent increase in their sales during this important tourism period.
However, they are also worried that the strict enforcement of the new anti-tobacco law in Los Cabos will not only upset tourists so that they don’t return in the future or scare off those that have heard stories and read social media experiences of others.
This is a concern, especially since many of these businesses are just starting to prosper again after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Business owners in Los Cabos are proactively increasing the awareness campaign they started in January about the new anti-tobacco law to avoid any possible fines, problems, or negative tourist experiences during the important spring travel season.
So far, most business owners have been able to mitigate most of the impact of this law using education.
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