- Life Style
RIYADH — 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 6 million Saudis spend about 30 million Saudi riyals (about US$8 million) a day on cigarettes.