Syria - smoking ban goes into effect on April 21, 2010..

April 21, 2010

April 16, 2010 - Syria's long-awaited smoking ban goes into effect on Wednesday, April 21 with a six-month grace period drawing to a close. President Bashar Al Assad had officially approved the new rules back in October 2009. The smoking ban builds upon an earlier decree passed under Syria's late president Hafez Al Assad in the 1990s, which had banned the advertising of any tobacco-related products in Syria.

Health Minister Rida Said defended the ban saying it "protects the rights of non-smokers, many of whom are children, and is an important step towards reduction of smoking-related illness".

Experts believe the ban on smoking in public places will improve people's health and ultimately reduce national health service costs. Considered far-reaching, it bans smoking in restaurants, airports and all other public places; offenders caught breaking the law will be fined the equivalent of about US$45. According to the Syrian Centre for Tobacco Studies (SCTS), 59 percent of adult males and 23 percent of adult females in Syria smoke. "It is an epidemic," said Fouad Mohammad Fouad, SCTS coordination officer.

Reference: VIDEO - It's going to be tough to take a puff in the Mideast by Sami Moubayed, Correspondent,, 4/11/2010; SYRIA: New law to curb smoking "epidemic",, 4/14/2010.

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