Female traveler goes nude at Beirut airport to protest smoking ban

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Egypt’s Gate Al Ahram also reported the incident quoting airport security sources. But in a phone call with a general security official, he refused to confirm or deny the incident.

A picture circulated on social media showed the alleged woman approached by Lebanese security forces.

In a country considered a "smokers' paradise," the law took effect a year ago in airports, hospitals and schools, but took hold on a wider basis in September 2012, also banning tobacco advertisements criticized for luring youths into the habit, according to a report by AFP.

Smokers caught lighting up in a closed public space face a $90 penalty, while restaurant or cafe owners who turn a blind eye to offenders could be fined anything from $900 to $2,700, AFP reported.

The number of smokers in Lebanon is among the highest in the region and cancer-related illnesses directly linked to tobacco are rising at a rapid rate, health professionals say.

Still, there is speculation as to how far the new ban can actually hold in a country where cigarette, cigar and nargileh (water-pipe) smoking is so popular and widespread.

Several other countries in the Middle East have adopted anti-tobacco laws, but their enforcement has proven often difficult as smoking, especially of the nargileh, is hugely popular.

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