Smoking ban in eight Saudi public areas takes effect

Anti-smoking laws that took effect last week prohibit smoking in eight public areas.

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Anti-smoking laws that took effect last week prohibit smoking in eight public areas. A royal decree was issued 12 months ago approving new regulations to curb smoking in the Kingdom.

“The regulations came into force on June 6 and any violations can result in fines and other penalties. The new regulations prohibit smoking in eight public areas. These include the vicinities of religious, educational, health, sport and cultural institutions, social and charity institutions,” said a source.

The source added that smoking is also prohibited in the workplace, companies, government offices, factories, banks and all public transport facilities.

“Smoking is prohibited in areas for manufacturing and processing food products and drinks, petrol, gas and fuel distribution systems, warehouses, elevators and restrooms, in addition to several unspecified public places,” said the source.

The source said if there was a smoking area in any of the public facilities, the head of the facility must make sure that the area is isolated and no one under 18 years of age enters it.

There are also eight new regulations to curb the selling of tobacco: Tobacco products may only be sold in closed containers. Tobacco should not be sold in vending machines and may not be purchased using self-serving cashiers. Tobacco may not be sold inside public transport facilities.

Tobacco may not be sold to anyone under 18. Ideas and inventions related to tobacco may not receive patent. The source said no discounts are allowed on tobacco prices and tobacco products may not be given as gift or free samples.

“Products promoting tobacco are not to be imported, sold or offered. All tobacco products must have a label on them stating the harmful effects of smoking. Toys and candy in the form of cigarettes or any other smoking instrument are not to be sold,” said the source.

The source said ministries, public directorates, institutions, general commissions, educational, health, sports, cultural, social and philanthropic institutions and institutions in the private sector are responsible for implementing the regulations and monitoring their effectiveness.

The violation of any of the regulations can result in a fine of up to SR20,000. Smokers may be fined with SR200 for every time they are spotted smoking in a prohibited area and repeated violations result in higher fines. Violators have the right to appeal.

“The money gathered from these fines will be spent on awareness campaigns and charities related to the cause,” said the source.

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