Lebanon smoking ban enters into force

SHOTLIST:BEIRUT, LEBANON, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012, SOURCE: AFPTVSOUNDBITE 1 - Atef Najdalani (man), member of parliament (Arabic, 12 sec):"As legislators, we put this law into place and we will monitor its execution. Those who break the law will be punished."SOUNDBITE 2 - Bassam (man), engineer (Arabic, 15 sec):"They should have created both smoking areas and no smoking areas, like in most civilized countries. If this new law represents progress in Lebanon, then they should start by fixing the problems of electrcity and water first."SOUNDBITE 3 - Saddam (man), employee in a restaurant (Arabic, 10 sec):"Personally, I work thanks to the nargileh. All the clients come to smoke the nargileh and have a good time. If smoking is banned, no one will come."SOUNDBITE 4 - Mohamad (man), restaurant owner (Arabic, 12 sec):"They're affecting a lot of people and a lot of businesses might suffer because of it. Restaurants make most of their profits thanks to the nargileh. If nargilehs are forbidden inside restaurants, what will those who don't have outdoor areas do?50 sec of images showing:- VAR of restaurant terraces in downtown Beirut- VAR of people smoking- VAR of nargilehs- VAR inside shots of restaurants///--------------------------------------AFP TEXT STORY:Lebanon-health-law-tobacco Lebanon smoking ban enters into force BEIRUT, Sept 3, 2012 (AFP) - A smoking ban in all closed public spaces, including coffee shops, restaurants and bars, went into force in Lebanon on Monday under new legislation that promises hefty fines for lawbreakers. Endorsed by Lebanon's parliament last year, the law also bans tobacco advertisements, which have been criticised for luring young people into smoking. Smokers caught lighting up in a closed public space face a $90 penalty, while restaurant or cafe owners who turn a blind eye to offenders could be fined anything from $900 to $2,700. The number of smokers in Lebanon is among the highest in the region and cancer-related illnesses directly linked to tobacco are rising at a rapid rate, health professionals say. Still, there is speculation as to how far the new ban can actually hold in a country where cigarette, cigar and nargileh (water-pipe) smoking is so popular and widespread. Some 46 percent of Lebanese men and 31 percent of women are regular cigarette smokers, according to World Health Organisation figures that date back to November 2010. Cigarette packs cost little over a dollar, a price even many Lebanese teenagers can afford. But rather than focus on the potential health benefits, many have focused on the potential economic cost of the new law. Lebanese restaurant and cafe owners have cried foul, warning that nargileh cafe owners especially will suffer. ser/bpz