Saudi Arabia requires smoke-free public places

July 31, 2012

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The Saudi Arabian government has significantly stepped up the nation’s fight against tobacco use by requiring public places to be smoke-free. The smoke-free policy will apply to government offices, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and shopping malls in addition to airports, which have been smoke-free since 2011.  It even applies to water-pipes, or shisha.

The country’s new smoke-free policy will help reduce smoking and harmful exposure to secondhand smoke.  Among Saudi Arabian youth, 38 percent report being exposed to secondhand smoke in public places.

The government’s directive also prohibits the sale of tobacco to minors less than 18 years of age.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior said in a statement that he hoped that the smoke-free policy would serve as an example for other countries.