04 Jun 2010
Syria is the first Arab state to instigate a ban on smoking in public places, which also includes the nargile or hubble-bubble (hookah or water) pipe.
As of last month, people are not allowed to smoke in restaurants, cafés, educational institutions, health centres, sports halls, cinemas and theatres, and on public transport.
While at work employees cannot smoke, and employers must provide smokers with well-ventilated smoking areas.
Framework Convention Alliance Eastern Mediterranean regional co-ordinator Dr Hani Algouhmani says that Syria’s ban on smoking in public places is very progressive compared with other countries in the region, which signed the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) before Syria.
“Recently, Syrians have seen the negative impacts smoking has on their health plus the smoking epidemic is beginning to spread to school children,” he said. “This, along with civil society lobbying legislation bodies, rang alarm bells and lead Syria to take strong actions towards FCTC implementation.”
Dr Algouhmani says policemen can now take action against any violation of the law.
According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, fines for smoking in public places can range from 500 to 100,000 Syrian pounds (US$11 to $2,169).