Gaza Strip - Hamas bans smoking in public places in Gaza..

December 16, 2009 - The deposed Hamas administration on Wednesday, December 15th issued a smoking ban in public places in the Gaza Strip. The banning is applicable to all education and health institutions, clubs, restaurants, conference halls, public transportation and "any place the ministry considers public," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

"This procedure is to protect people's health and the environment," the statement added. Smokers account for 37 percent of the total population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

Last week, the Hamas government announced a harsh drug law including death penalty and life sentence against drug dealers and addicts.

Reference: Hamas bans smoking in Gaza public places, Editor: Wang Guanqun,, 12/16/2009.