Syria - 1st Arab country to implement a ban on smoking in public places..

April 21, 2010 - Today, Wednesday April 21, 2010 - Syria has become the first Arab state to implement a ban on smoking in public places, such as restaurants and cafes.
The decree also outlaws smoking in educational institutions, health centres, sports halls, cinemas and theatres and on public transport.

Directly related news brief: Syria - smoking ban goes into effect on April 21, 2010..

Workers must not smoke during meetings and businesses need to provide well-ventilated areas for smokers. The restrictions include the nargile, or hubble-bubble pipe, which is popular among locals and tourists.

The decree was signed last November by President Bashar al-Assad, a qualified medical doctor. According to the official news agency SANA, fines for violating the ban range from 500 to 100,000 Syrian pounds (US$11 to $2,169).

The Syrian government has passed several laws restricting smoking in the last two decades.

A decree in 1996 banned tobacco advertising while a 2006 law outlawed smoking on public transport and in some public places, introducing fines for offenders. Under-18s are not allowed to buy tobacco.

Reference: Syria smoking ban enters into force, BBC News, 4/21/2010.

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