June 27 (UPI) — Authorities in Thailand are facing backlash after introducing a new law that will classify smoking in households as a form or domestic abuse, or violence.
Local media reported the law would go into effect on Aug. 20 and that any person smoking indoors near family members could face penalties.
Lertpanya Buranabandit, director-general of the Department of Women’s Affairs and Family Development under Thailand’s ministry of social development and human security, said the goal of the law is to prevent “severe hazards to family as well as promote the welfare of family members,” Phuket News reported.
Courts could obligate offenders to undergo rehabilitation and to quit smoking, Lertpanya said, according to the report.
A current law, the Promotion and Protection of Family Institutions Act, defines domestic violence as “any act a person in the family commits onto another for the purpose that may cause harm to life, body, mind, health, freedom or reputation,” according to news service Thai PBS.
Another news service in Thailand, Post Today, reported authorities are suggesting smoking at home “may lead to physical or emotional violence.”
Thailand is trying to reduce tobacco consumption by at least 30 percent by 2025, according to Asia News Network.
On social media, commenters reportedly slammed the new law, calling the move an attack on civil liberties.
Thai sources who interviewed with news service Khaosod said the law is unrealistic.
“What child would sue their parent for smoking in the house?” one source said.
About 400,000 Thais die annually due to smoking-related diseases, according to ANN.