On Sunday, January 15, a new law came into effect across all of Mexico which prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars, resorts, and virtually all public areas. In the case of Los Cabos and other Mexican beach cities, the law forbids people from smoking on beaches. Along with the new law being announced, fines and other punishments for breaking said law were also revealed.
Smokers can legally be fined from 60 to 220 dollars for breaking the law. In fact, punishments can even include jail time and community service for repeat offenders. For now, though, Los Cabos authorities have decided to be a bit more lenient when it comes to applying these punishments.
The head of Zofemat, the federal agency in charge of the care of beaches across Mexico, Alonso Meza, mentioned that members of his organization were going to be patrolling the beaches to ensure that beachgoers were not smoking.
“When you go and visit the beaches, there will be personnel there coming up to people who are found smoking. This will be done because last Sunday, a law came into effect to prevent people from smoking on beaches.”
For Now, Smokers On Beaches Will Just Be Asked To Stop
Meza mentioned that Zofemat staff would be coming up to smokers on the beach to make them aware of the new regulations. If smokers decided not to comply after efforts from staff on the beach to get them to stop, they would be asked to leave. From the looks of things, local authorities want to make sure that tourists are properly informed of the existence of the law.
However, what’s perhaps more apparent is that patrolling the beaches to see who might be smoking is going to be a tall task for Zofemat staff. In fact, the organization is looking for extra help.
“Now that this reform came in to promote this (not smoking), we want to make sure that all beachgoers are informed. Zofemat staff will be informing tourists, as will members of fiscal inspection, Coepris, and our friends at the local police and highway patrol.”
Smokers Should Probably Not Test Their Luck
Smokers planning to visit Los Cabos may want to take this statement from Meza of Zofemat with a little bit of a grain of salt. Essentially don’t arrive in Cabo thinking that you’re still technically ok to smoke on beaches and public places, with only a polite “please stop” being the consequence of getting caught.
Meza’s comments actually highlight one of the issues with the law. The problem is that Zofemat staff don’t have the authority to detain people on the beach. They can enforce fines on businesses within the coastline that don’t follow the smoking ban. For individuals smoking on the beach, though, they would need to bring in a local police officer or member of the Mexican armed forces to legally detain someone. From there, they could then face fines or any other type of punishment.
This is certainly going to make enforcing this smoking ban on beaches quite difficult. The situation can be completely different when it comes to smoking on Cabo streets. Particularly because streets are going to be patrolled by police officers that can legally detain people who are breaking the law. The new laws banning smoking don’t necessarily prohibit people from smoking in the street. However, there are restrictions when it comes to how close you can smoke from a restaurant, bar, or entertainment facility. Also, smoking is banned at a set distance from local parks or even when near kids or teenagers. Even though there’s essentially a grace period when it comes to fines for smoking on Cabo beaches, that may not apply to smoking in other parts of Cabo.
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