04 Nov 2009
Syria’s president recently announced the country will ban smoking in public places within the next six months – adding the nation to the increasing anti-smoking trend in Arab countries.
Smoking will be banned in restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, schools, official functions and on public transport. The ban will even limit places where Syrians can smoke water pipes, known locally as argileh, which is a rare restriction in the Arab world. Ban offenders will be fined 2,000 Syrian pounds (about $US 45.00).
Tobacco advertising and the sale and import of sweets and toys modeled after tobacco products will also be banned.
The ban reflects Syria’s desire to join other Arab countries struggling to control smoking with bans and anti-smoking campaigns. These laws are difficult to enforce in the tobacco-loving Arab world, where people smoke freely in public places such as offices, universities, taxis and even hospitals.