Saudi Arabia - starting to enforce smoking ban..

Signs warn passengers and visitors
against smoking at King Abdulaziz
International Airport in Jeddah.(SPA)
Click to enlarge..

November 8, 2010 - Back on August 10, 2010 the Ministry of Health announced that a nationwide anti-smoking campaign will begin to coincide with Ramadan. (Saudi Arabia - to launch a nationwide anti-smoking campaign..)

The General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) will start imposing its long-anticipated no-smoking policy at all its airports in Saudi Arabia Sunday, November 7th. Violators face a SR200 fine. “The fine will also be applicable to airport staff members, employees working inside the airport, and those whose nature of job requires their presence inside the airport if they were found violating the no-smoking policy,” said King Abdulaziz International Airport Director General Mazen Khashoggi.

On Sunday twelve (12) people were fined SR200 (53.33 USD) each for smoking at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s north terminal on Sunday morning, the first day of a nationwide smoking ban in the Kingdom’s airports. All 12 people were caught smoking between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation and chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), issued the ban. Airports across the Kingdom were asked to implement it starting Dul Hijjah 1 (Nov. 7).

To make people aware of the ban, GACA launched an awareness campaign in cooperation with travel agencies and government offices. “We used loudspeakers to announce the ban many times in different languages, in addition to distributing brochures for airport visitors and staff. Pilgrims who have no idea about the decision will be allowed to continue their journey without paying fines, but they could be stopped in the future,” said Al-Khaibari, a GACA spokesman.

Serafi Mega Mall has implemented a similar smoking ban at its premises in Jeddah. Anas Al-Serafi, director of Serafi Mega Mall, banned smoking inside the mall as of Sunday. “This decision is the first of its kind in the Kingdom. Our aim is to create a healthy, clean and smoke-free environment at the mall,” said Al-Serafi.

References: Smoking at airport to land you a SR200 fine by SULTAN AL-TAMIMI, ARAB NEWS, 11/7/2010; Smokers fined at Jeddah airport by DIANA AL-JASSEM, ARAB NEWS, 11/8/2010.

Saudi Arabia - some related news briefs:
Saudi Arabia - Haj pilgrims flock to the Kingdom, anti-smoking effort intensified this year..;
Saudi Arabia - smokers give up smoking prior to entering smoke-free holy cities of Mecca and Medina..;
Saudi Arabia - to launch a nationwide anti-smoking campaign..;
Saudi Arabia - campaign underway to educate the public especially targeting young people..;
Saudi Arabia - Shoura Council to provide advice on Anti-Smoking Law..;
Saudi Arabia - number of smokers has increased..;
Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina) - possible healthier environment this year..;
Saudi Arabia - anti-smoking regulations approved in August 2003 not yet implemented..;
Saudi Arabia - rid country of public smoking zones..;
Saudi Arabia - bans use of cessation drugs Champix and Zyban..;
Saudi Arabia - banning sales of electronic (e) cigarettes..;
Saudi Arabia - smokers to pay higher health insurance premium..;
50 lashes for smoker on Saudia Arabian Airlines..;
Saudi court set to hear tobacco compensation case..;
Saudis to sue tobacco firms for more than $2.7 billion Ryadh, Saudi Arabia..