June 22, 2010 - The Council of Ministers urged the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to ban smoking at all airports and their facilities in the Kingdom on Monday, June 21st. It also advised GACA to impose a fine of SR200 (53.35 USD) on people who violate the new regulations.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, approved the recommendations of the 150-member Shoura Council.
Although the Kingdom passed anti-smoking regulations in August 2003, the habit is growing among its population. There are six million smokers in the country who puff away SR8 (2.13 USD) billion every year. According to one report, smoking-related diseases kill at least 33 people in the Kingdom each month.
Saudi Arabia ranks fourth in the world in terms of cigarette consumption and 41st in terms of population. As many as 13 billion cigarettes are imported into the Kingdom every year. About 10 percent of the Kingdom’s total smokers are women and 19.3 percent are teenagers. Studies have shown that 13 to 15 percent of young men and women live with smokers and are subjected to passive smoking.
Saudi Arabia in May 2005 became the 65th country to ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Reference: Smoking banned at airports, Arab News.com, 6/21/2010.
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