RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia has banned smoking in government offices and most public places, including restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets and shopping malls.
The ban includes smoking of water-pipes, or shishas, and prohibits selling tobacco to those under the age of 18.
The official SPA news agency says Interior Minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz has ordered that a royal ban on smoking be implemented as of Monday. He is cited as saying that Islam urges the preservation of public health.
The ban is a significant step-up in the kingdom's anti-smoking campaign. Saudi Arabia banned smoking in its airports last year.
Saudi statistics say the country is the world's fourth largest importer of tobacco and that six million Saudis spend about 30 million Saudi riyals (about $8 million) a day on cigarettes.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide detailed information.