Bahrain clamps down on tobacco use and advertising

Manama: People caught smoking in their cars in front of children will face fines, according to a tough new anti-smoking law that bans tobacco advertising and heavily limits smoking areas.

The law, ratified by Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifah on Monday after it was approved by the bicameral parliament, forbids the planting, manufacturing or reprocessing of tobacco in Bahrain as well as importing chewable tobacco-based products, moist snuff and other tobacco-based substances unlicensed by the health ministry.

It also bans smoking in public transport, ports, airports, government offices, health centres, hospitals, pharmacies, schools, universities, public libraries, religious buildings, industrial facilities, training centres, malls, shopping complexes and markets. The ban also applies to clubs, stadiums, sports halls, restaurants, hotels, cafes, cinemas, entertainment halls, beauty parlours, hair salons, lifts, ATM and phone booths, banks, financial companies, and private cars carrying children.

“No Smoking” signs should be prominently displayed in all the facilities and the personnel should ensure full compliance by all people with the instructions, the law said.

No advertising promoting smoking is allowed and cigarette manufacturing or importing companies are prohibited from using sports events to market or publicise their products. Gifts promoting smoking or chewing tobacco are also strictly banned.

Shops are not allowed to sell cigarettes to people less than 18 years old and in case of doubt shopkeepers should ask for identity papers to check the age of the buyer.

Coffee shops allowing customers to smoke shisha (smoke pipe) are opened in sports clubs, public parks and entertainment areas, according to the new legislation.

Violators will be made to pay fines and establishments that do not comply with the law risk being shut down for up to three months. The law calls for the formation of an anti-smoking national committee under the health ministry.

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