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Saudi Arabia implements strict anti-smoking laws

Saudi Arabia implements strict anti-smoking laws

The kingdom bans smoking in public areas and regulates tobacco sale

Saudi Arabia has implemented tough anti-smoking laws in the country, with smoking now banned in eight public areas, according to reports.

These areas include the vicinities of religious, educational, health, sports, cultural, social and charity institutions, a source told the Saudi Gazette newspaper.

The source further added that smoking is also prohibited in 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.”

The regulation, which came into force on June 6, had been proposed a year ago and was awaiting approval.

Although smoking is banned in public areas, specified smoking areas in public facilities are allowed.

However, the law adds that if a facility does put smoking areas in place, the head of the faculty must ensure that such an area is isolated and that no one younger then the legal smoking age of 18 years enters the area.

Under the system, eight new regulations to discourage the sale of tobacco have also been imposed.

These regulations include not selling smoking and tobacco products in vending machines and inside public transport facilities.

Tobacco products can only be sold in closed containers and restrictions have also been placed on receiving patents for tobacco related ideas and inventions.

The report also added that discounts or free samples of tobacco products would be considered illegal.

Also read: GCC governments look to tobacco tax as low oil prices bite

“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,” the source told the daily.

Any violation of the anti-smoking laws could result in fines up to SAR 20,000 ($5,300).

If spotted smoking in prohibited public areas, the violator may be issued a fine of SAR 200, with each repeated violation resulting in a higher fine. The violator does however hold the right to appeal if they feel that they have been fined unjustly.

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