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Thu 18 Sep 2008 06:11 AM

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New law in pipeline to deter Saudi smokers

$53 fines proposed for people caught smoking in public places under new regulations.

A new law to combat smoking in public and workplaces in Saudi Arabia has been drafted and is awaiting Cabinet approval.Under the proposals, those caught smoking in public places will be fined SR200 ($53).

Suleiman Al-Sabi, secretary-general of the Charitable Society to Combat Smoking, urged those affected by smokers at work and public places to take legal action against them, demanding compensation.

He told Arab News on Thursday the health minister would be authorised to draft an executive bylaw for the anti-smoking law.

The law, which is expected to come in during 2009, is significant as Saudi Arabia tops the list of tobacco importers, according to 2007 statistics.

Iran is placed second, followed by Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and Egypt. He claimed cigarette smoking has so far caused the death of 3.48 million people worldwide this year, including 13,929 in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Sabi said smoking would be banned in public places such as markets, restaurants, courtyards of mosques, ministries, educational, health, sports and cultural institutions, public transports, lifts and toilets.

Smoking will also banned in workplaces of companies, factories, banks, food manufacturing places as well as petroleum producing, transporting, distributing and refining areas and fuel and gas selling outlets.

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