Kuwait - may start enforcing law banning smoking in public places..

July 12, 2010 - News reports in local media, quoted a Ministry of Health (MoH) source as stating that new arrangements are to be put in place to enforce the law, which was passed in 1995. The new arrangements will include cooperation between officials of the ministries of health and interior, with the latter to take responsibility for collecting monetary fines of up to KD 50 (172.14 USD) for smoking in a public place, the official said.

1995 -- In 1995, the National Assembly in Kuwait approved legislation for tobacco control. The law banned the planting or importing of tobacco, except for scientific purposes. It also prohibited smoking in public places and selling of tobacco to people less than 21 years of age. (This day in Kuwait''s history, 6/23/2010) To see the articles contained in the State of Kuwait, law No. 15 of 1995: On smoking control (Issued on 17 May 1995) Look at the APPENDIX.
Members of the public yesterday expressed their support for enforcing Kuwait's 15-year-old legislation banning smoking in public places. Unsurprisingly, non-smokers were extremely welcoming of the news. "It is indeed annoying to sit in a place filled with smoke," said Abdulmajid Mashaan, a 29 year old non-smoker. "A few days ago I had to be in a coffee shop, where people were smoking. I had to go there to watch a football game, and by the time the game finished I was really exhausted, almost suffocated.

Smokers themselves, however, were also positive about the enforcement of the legislation. Ragheb Humoud, a 30-year-old smoker, said that he will abide by the law if it's implemented. "I completely understand how smoking can be annoying for non-smokers, especially in enclosed areas, and I try not to smoke in public places when I can," he said. "Yesterday for example I went to the airport, and I had to be there for about half an hour, but I didn't smoke, I abstained from smoking until I got out.

Norhan Ali, a 28-year-old smoker, pointed out that in some situations smoking can be annoying, even for smokers themselves. "There are some places where children sit, and it could be harmful for them," she stated. "Some smokers don't have good manners, many of them throw ash wherever they want and throw cigarette butts just anywhere, so even though I am a smoker, I am totally in favor of banning smoking in public places.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, not only smoking but exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke causes disease, disability, and death. Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of death worldwide. WHO tobacco use statistics from 2002 revealed that smoking-related-diseases kill one in 10 adults globally annually, approximately four million deaths per year.

By 2030, if current trends continue, smoking will kill one in six people. The same data states that about a third of the male adult global population smokes, with the lethal habit rising in the developing world as it continues to fall in developed nations. Accurate data for the percentage of smokers in Kuwait is not currently available.

Reference: Support for enforcement of Kuwait smoking ban by Ahmad Saeid, Staff Writer, Kuwait Times, 7/11/2010.

Kuwait has signed (16 June 2003) and ratified (12 May 2006) the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.