Bahrain steps up clamp on smoking
Manama, January 5, 2013
More than 100 cases have been registered against hotels, restaurants and shops for breaching Bahrain's anti-smoking law following inspections conducted by a team from the Health Ministry last year.
The Health Ministry has also referred some of the public and private facilities to the Public Prosecution. Some of them were verbally warned while others received a written report, said GCC anti-tobacco committee member Dr Maha Mokla.
"The anti-smoking committee in the Health Ministry received a total of 116 complaints regarding the violation of law number eight for 2009, which prohibits smoking in public places along with other restrictions," she told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"The action by health inspectors was according to the types of violation and ranged between written warnings and referral to the Public Prosecution."
The move follows the launch of the ministry's hotline, 66399755, to report smoking violations across the country.
The hotline aims to encourage smokers to kick the habit and allows the public to register any violations and contribute to protecting social health.
"We have received an overwhelming response since the launch of this hotline, with some of the complaints registered through this medium," added Dr Mokla.
Last year, the GCC approved unified regulations to encourage people to quit smoking.
Under the regulations, tobacco companies are required to display graphic warnings on all cigarette packets in Bahrain and other Gulf countries about the dangers of smoking.
The visual health warnings include horrific images of smoking hazards, such as the deterioration of organs and harmful effects on pregnant women, which will also be placed on sheesha tobacco packets.
Some of the images displayed include a flaming skull at the end of a cigarette symbolising early death and burning fingers which highlights the message that smoking increases risk of more than 25 diseases.
Retailers in Bahrain have until January 9 to get rid of their existing stock and no imports without the images will be allowed into the country.
In 2009, an anti-smoking law was ratified by His Majesty King Hamad which banned smoking in indoor public places, including restaurants, cafes, hotels and hair salons, and on public transport and in private cars - where there are children.
It further forbids planting, manufacturing or reprocessing of tobacco in Bahrain as well as importing chewable tobacco-based products and other tobacco-based substances not licensed by the Health Ministry.-TradeArabia News Service