Smoking Ban Enters into Force amid Protest to Amend Anti-Tobacco Legislation

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

A smoking ban in Lebanon is likely to drive cigarette smokers out into the street but shisha smokers will find the most difficulty in taking their water pipes out of restaurants and cafes.

The ban entered into force on Monday in accordance with Law 174, which passed a year ago.

But the owners of restaurants in the town of Antelias north of Beirut held a sit-in to protest the ban and call for the amendment of the law.

The protestors held placards saying “You are forbidden to light a cigarette but you are allowed to set the country on fire.”

Another placard read: “Have mercy on Lebanon’s tourism.”

However, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said any possible amendment should be studied by the parliament and not by resorting to the street after the owner of al-Saniour restaurant, Tony al-Saniour, hinted that the protestors could block roads.

The owners also said they would shut down for one day and form a committee to resolve the issue.

The head of the parliamentary health committee, MP Atef Majdalani, stressed in remarks to Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) that the ban is aimed at preserving the health of people and preventing some from causing health problems to others.

He also ruled out the possibility of dividing restaurants, cafes and nightclubs into smoking and non-smoking sections.

The latest studies in countries that implemented the ban showed that the percentage of severe heart attacks has dropped by 17-19 percent, Majdalani told An Nahar daily.

The total ban on Monday came a year after smoking was prohibited in public offices, hospitals and education institutions and less than seven months after the authorities banned cigarette and tobacco ads.

The anti-tobacco legislation has faced the criticism of the associations of restaurants and hotels that have called for amending it amid warnings to take escalatory measures in case of lack of government action.

They argue that it would cut business and drive some establishments to bankruptcy.

Members of the judicial police, the inspectors of the Ministry of Public Health, the Directorate of Consumer Protection in the Economy Ministry and the tourist police will be in charge of monitoring the implementation of the law’s provisions.

A minimum LL135,000 ($90) fine for non-compliance with the new smoke-free regulations will be applied to both the owners and the smokers themselves.

Shisha smokers will be the most affected as smoking water pipes has become part of the Lebanese culture and a rising number of people from all ages are becoming addicted.

They consider shisha a recreational activity.

The National Tobacco Control Program of the Health Ministry says more than 3500 Lebanese die each year from tobacco-related diseases.

Comments 45
Thumb geha 03 September 2012, 09:47

I am with this ban, however, I do ot think it will be implemented:
- they should ban first the biggest smoker: Zouk electricity.
- if a policeman gives a smoker a ticket, how will they force him to pay it?
- this will give police an additional leverage ver restaurants for bakhchiche.
- ...
in a country where kidnapping is not pursued, it is funny to see such a law take force :)

Thumb Captain 03 September 2012, 10:28

I for one stopped going to restaurants in Lebanon a long time ago mainly for smoking. A lot of my friends do the same. We prefer to save the money and go spend it in countries where they have the ban. People go to restaurants to enjoy their meals not to experience something bad to their health.

There are even smokers bothered by other people smoking. What restaurants don't realize is that more people will come if the ban is in effect. So before they talk, why not try it first. Even a big part of the smokers will show up. Just wait and see.

As for shisha, it's horrible. It's bad for the person and the ones around him specially in closed places. I don't know who let them smoke in closed places in the first place? There are a lot of restaurants that have a special place for smokers and shisha lovers.

If you don't believe me look at the person who is smoking or shishaing. Is he more happy and smiling or sad and frowning (The famous Lebanese ja2ra).

Default-user-icon Smoker (Guest) 03 September 2012, 14:53

many European countries with touristic sites have restaurants and pubs and even clubs closed and with possibility to smoke, and they even don't offer an ashtray you just throw cigarettes to the ground.
the non-smoking law is unfair for Lebanon they should either classify places as smoking place and non-smoking or restaurants have a non-smoking sections.
as for the airport all airports around the world are non smoking but with a smoking room for smokers, in Lebanon on in the upper VIP lounge u can smoke, well that is unfair as well.

Thumb geha 03 September 2012, 15:46

you are correct in your comment, unfortunately we do live in Lebanon and there more pressing matters that need to be attented to first so that people will accept to implement such a ban.
if we do not even have a cabinet.....

Thumb Captain 04 September 2012, 06:57

When we have the people believe in the system and have hope, they will apply the law willingly and not be rebellious.

Thumb Captain 04 September 2012, 07:09

When I used to live in the States in the 80s, I used to go to Olive Garden and Red Lobster and similar places. The host would ask you if you wished for a smoking or non-smoking section. When you choose the non-smoking section, you will not at all smell any kind of smoke.

Tell me about that in Lebanon? Even if you have been seated in a non-smoking section, your clothes will still smell like smoke.

Decades ago, cigarettes did not contain as much chemicals and addictive material as they are today. You can feel that by the way your clothes stink when around smokers. Before it was bad but not as bad.

Default-user-icon Proud to live in Lebanon (Guest) 03 September 2012, 11:02

Finally!! Thank you Lebanon, for once the government has done something right. Now please, please enforce this law. And not just for a month or two like they did with wearing seatbelts and talking on the phone while driving, but for always. Tourist will actually be happy to come and see that Beirut is in line with the rest of the civilized nations. Now if we can just work on a few other things here..... :)

Thumb geha 03 September 2012, 15:47

where are the radars on the streets? .....

Missing freedom1 03 September 2012, 11:48

It is a joke ,in a country like Lebanon you can find weapons in every single house .Hezb Iran and Meqdeads family have no respect for the law ,in the north of Lebanon scum bags are killing eachother ,it is not safe to carry cash around,enough BS clean the country first then worry about somking...

Missing samiam 03 September 2012, 11:50

I won't go to restaurants unless they have an outdoor area because the smoke doesn't help one enjoy a meal. I used to smoke, but never inside a house and never in enclosed areas like cars.

The law is one thing; enforcement is another.

Default-user-icon John (Guest) 03 September 2012, 11:56

There is no correlation between the cigarette ban and "setting the country on fire".
The only reason the owners of restaurants are focusing so much on maintaining the status quo is their fear of change, which could affect their business.
At the same time they claim to be "civilized" people, but they i)refuse the abide by the law, ii)threaten the state of a course of actions worthy of cavemen and iii)have no problem affecting OTHER businesses along the way.
Where I was raised, this is called double standards, and whether it matters or not remains secondary to one thing: if you wanna smoke, others don't! So why do you want to force them to?

Thumb geha 03 September 2012, 15:52

do you have any idea how much bakhchiche restaurants pay?
isn't the state responsible in the first place to provide at least a good econimical environment and security for restaurants to be able to prosper?
isn't the state responsible to provide security for the airport road at least so that tourist do come to these restaurants?
when your cabinet fails these restaurant owners, what do you expect their reaction to be?
again, I am 100% for the ban.

Thumb benzona 03 September 2012, 12:27

I'm against those laws. It's socialism. Step 1/ prevent smoking Step 2/ increase tax on tobacco Step 3/increase tax on everything else.

This is how it begins, anywhere in the world. I've never smoked a cig in my entire -young- life, Moreover, I'm allergic to smoke. It itches my nose... but I'm even more allergic to politicians putting their noses in my business.

Default-user-icon Guest (Guest) 03 September 2012, 13:48

Another example of how the Lebanese love to copy everything Europeans do. Maybe they should put their efforts into fixing the roads, electricity, crime, water, pollution..etc.. before something as insignificant as a 'Smoking ban'

Missing helicopter 03 September 2012, 22:36

Guest I know you mean well.... but if the Lebanese were good at copying everything the Europeans do then our roads, electricity, crime, water, and pollution will alll be in great shape and top notch. Instead we are copying what the MiddleEasterns do and hence all we got is corruption, impoisiton by arm, lawlessness and fawda.

Thumb Captain 03 September 2012, 13:52

It's a step forward and a big thank you to the responsible ones.

I hope the next step will be the trucks, cars, generators, factories, ....

It is very much possible to live in Lebanon and enjoy clean air, clean sea and clean mountains.

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:29

"Barbecues poison the air with toxins and could cause cancer, research suggests.
A study by the French environmental campaigning group Robin des Bois found that a typical two-hour barbecue can release the same level of dioxins as up to 220,000 cigarettes.

Dioxins are a group of chemicals known to increase the likelihood of cancer.

The figures were based on grilling four large steaks, four turkey cuts and eight large sausages."

Default-user-icon pamoushka (Guest) 03 September 2012, 22:34

Yes, and cows produce 20% of the methane in the atmosphere.

Thumb Captain 04 September 2012, 07:01

Sausages are not natural. God knows what is in them.

They say Microwave is dangerous. Well also if you boil the water at a much faster rate, it will also be dangerous because of the way Van Der Vaal's bond breaks.

If things are done moderately, they would cause no harm.

Thumb Captain 04 September 2012, 07:02

We cannot stop them. We can clean our carburetor's and injection engines. We can drive in a better way, car pool or hopefully take public transportation.

Default-user-icon Former Lebanese (Guest) 03 September 2012, 13:54

From a former smoker and seeing the smoking ban taking place in my US state. I think they went tackling this a bit too fast. Perhaps instead of killing it all at once that NO business in their right mind would accept, a phased approach would've been more acceptable.

For example giving resturants a certain date by than they must be compliant, same with bars and so on. This gives the busienss owners time to adjust.

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:27

Prohibition never works or have you forgotton what alcohol prohibition led too! Smoking bans are the same thing Prohibition besides the higer taxes have created jobs in the worldwide tobacco blackmarkets! Lebanon will see this effect too besides bar closures,restaraunt closures and hospitality job losses as they say 10,000 jobs will be lost!

Thumb Captain 04 September 2012, 16:49

The law came out on September 3, 2011 and took effect a year later. The restaurant owners did not do anything in this year that passed until the very last night.

Default-user-icon Rolf (Guest) 03 September 2012, 14:03

As usual.
The measure should be more progressive and make place for exceptions to be sustainable.

Thumb Marc 03 September 2012, 15:58

I think restaurants are not paying attention to the fact that they may have a whole new us timer base of non smokers. Our family avoid going to restaurants if we are to be subjected to second hand smoke in addition to the fact that you can not enjoy your meal with all the smoke around. So, I am with the ban. Next thing I hope the government will do is to enforce all vehicles in Lebanon to have catalytic converters to reduce smog and pollution...... Yalla

Thumb Marc 03 September 2012, 15:59

Meant to say customer base..... Darn iPad lol

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:24

354 pubs had to close because of the smoking ban

Over the past year made ??close to the Canary Islands 354 pubs.

Canary Islands - This was announced by the regional association of recreational facilities and catering operators (Fecao) with and makes for the jobs destroyed as a result mainly responsible for the smoking ban. In a public announcement raises Fecao the authorities' unprecedented witch-hunt "against.

Default-user-icon mazen (Guest) 03 September 2012, 15:59

NON SMOKERS: every time u find yourselves in a resto. and notice that someone is smoking. call the manager, and threaten to leave without paying unless they ask the offender to leave and smoke outside. NON SMOKERS(the silent majority) should no longer remain silent!

Default-user-icon mazen (Guest) 03 September 2012, 16:04

People for get for a min. why this law comes in effect in the first place!! It is all about you, and your children!! Tobaco KILLS!! Kills those who smoke, and those AROUND THEM! It is not fair for waiters and bartenders to inhale 6 packs an eve because party goers do not wish to step out and smoke in the open air!!! This law is not about Hizbullah, nor mustaqbal, nor and nor!! for once it is something positive and CIVILIZED! Embrace it!! some civilized countries are even considering criminalizing smoking at home if homeowners have children!!

Missing lqu7 03 September 2012, 16:20

This is a good move and I totally support it. Of course one expects a strong opposition to it due to the fact that nagging is part of our culture, even when we're happy.
Even with all of the lawlessness and this law's seemingly futile appearance, it's better to have it than not. I just wonder how it will be implemented.

Default-user-icon harleyrider1978 (Guest) 03 September 2012, 18:07

Heart miracles are impossible
It's good to see Dr. Carl V. Philips back and blogging over at Ep-ology. In his last two posts he has been discussing the North Carolina heart miracle 'study', which is as bad a piece of advocacy-driven junk science as you will ever see.

In particular, he makes a point which I have tried to made before, which is absolutely fundamental to all the heart miracle studies. The results they report—of heart attacks falling by 17%, 21%, 40% or whatever—are simply impossible.

Default-user-icon harleyrider1978 (Guest) 03 September 2012, 18:10

You all are being blasted with anti-smoking propaganda right now. Second hand smoke is harmless and at most an irritant yet its the junk science basis for the ban and its the world health organizations FCTC treaty forcing it down your throats. Because Lebanon wants to get World Bank and IMF loans now and in the future..........The smoking ban treaty is tied directly to getting that money.

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:19

The latest studies in countries that implemented the ban showed that the percentage of severe heart attacks has dropped by 17-19 percent, Majdalani told An Nahar daily.

He is LYING!

Heart attacks Frauds and Myths..


Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:20

Do Smoking Bans Reduce Heart Attacks?

“In contrast with smaller regional studies,” says a RAND Corporation study, “we find that smoking bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction [heart attack] or other diseases.”
In fact, “An analysis simulating smaller studies using subsamples reveals that large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a smoking ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature.”
In other words, although heart attacks do decline in some places with smoking bans, there are just as many places where they rise. On average, the difference between jurisdictions with smoking bans and jurisdictions without smoking bans is essentially zero.

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:38

Blue Print For Success – Countdown 2000 – Ten Years to a Tobacco Free America
(Sept. 11, 1990)

“The document is an action plan for achieving consistent nationwide policy in states and localities. It provides guidelines to address the following three major tobacco issues: 1) marketing targeted at special populations, 2) tobacco excise taxes and 3) restrictions on smoking in public places. This draft will eventually form the basis for achieving the goals we share for the year 2000.”

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:39

“Restrictions on smoking in public places remain a keystone in the overall challenge to achieve a tobacco-free society. To accomplish the public health goals inherent in this arena, TFA recommends that a series of provisions be adopted to provide uniform protections for the nonsmoker. Priority emphasis should be placed on achieving restrictions that provide protection for children and the adult workforce.”

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:39

P 30-31; Any comprehensive Clean Indoor Air statute must not contain provisions that provide civil rights protection for smokers against employment discrimination.

“Hundreds of smoking-control laws across the country stipulate that in cases of dispute between a smoker and nonsmoker, the nonsmokers wishes prevail.
Anti-discrimination laws would serve to negate such stipulations.
In addition, an anti-discrimination law would give a smoker the power to bring suit against both the employer and the nonsmoker with whom there is a grievance.”

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:42

Heres the biggy;

7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
November 2004.

"5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke - induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available.

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:43

The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease."

In other words ... our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can't even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact ... we don't even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.

Missing harleyrider1978 03 September 2012, 18:43

Thats correct they have never proven a single claim against smoking!

Thumb gebran_sons 03 September 2012, 21:05

For all the incompetences of this failed government formed by a criminal regime and a criminal organization,I do give them credit for two policies: 1. Banning smoking in public spaces and 2. reminding beach resorts that they cannot discriminate against domestic helpers. However, it would have been a better timing if smoking ban was implemented end of September and the Lebanese media was more active in highliting discrimination and abuses against domestic workers, as well as insuring minimum dignity for the asylum seekers from Sudan and Ethiopia.

Default-user-icon Johnny K. (Guest) 04 September 2012, 06:33

I am not a smoker but just about everyone in my family smokes but I do not agree with this law. I do not think the government should tell businesses what they can and can't do. Why is it so hard for non-smokers to accept the fact that no one is forcing them to go to a place that allows smoking if it bothers them so much? If I had a business, I would hope that it would my choice to allow or ban smoking in my own establishment. If the smoke bothers you, go somewhere else, easy. The smoke bothering you should not override my choice to smoke (if I smoke)

Missing midan 04 September 2012, 07:29

HarelyRIDE... SHUT UP!

and deal with it! You will get more customers, if u ban smoking ! be sure of it!

Default-user-icon Hashshash (Guest) 05 September 2012, 00:21

I am also a smoker, however I am not a murderer, and even though I have had a thorough moral education that has taught me to consider others around me, and thus I do not light up in the middle of a restaurant with others eating around me, obviously el Libnéniyé mannunsh hil mathal el a3la bil 2ikhla2, and since they can't behave with the simplest courtesy on their own, I'm glad that this government - for once doing anything useful whatsoever - is acting as a surrogate mom and dad and forcing the people to abide by some elementary manners through punitive law. Not that I have more faith than most commentators around here that this law would actually be enforced...

Default-user-icon Clair (Guest) 20 June 2014, 01:11

Hi my family member! I wish to say that this article is awesome,
nice written and include almost all important infos. I'd like to see extra posts like this