Sidon, Lebanon: Public administration buildings in south Lebanon will be smoke-free zones, in line with Law 174 which outlaws smoking indoors, South Lebanon Governor Mansour Daou announced Monday. The decision, which will go into effect Mar. 1, was taken in cooperation with the Health Ministry. The decision will apply to all public administration buildings in the southern governorate, as well as police and military offices.
Those found to be in violation of the law will be fined LL135,000.
The measure was announced after a meeting held by Daou in the Sidon Serail, attended by various government authorities, including Director of the National Tobacco Control Program Fadi Sanan and Health Authority President for the South Dr. Hasan Alawieh.
The attendees discussed the next steps required to implement the decision, including putting up posters in public administration buildings to announce the decision and designating sites for smoking zones outdoors.
“We consider this day to be a historical event in the governorate of south Lebanon, as we present our institution as a smoke-free one, beginning March 1,” Daou said.
“This decision was reached thanks to the heads of all the units who cooperated with us and all the security and military forces that welcomed the idea and issued their own statements to announce the decision,” he added.
The governor described the decision as a “civilizing” measure intended to curb the consequences of smoking, which he said were “huge and affect everyone.”
“We officials in public administration should be the first to implement Law 174 to serve as an example to others,” he added.
By March 1, a special smoking zone would be designated outside the Sidon Serail, he said.
“They will have to bear the cold of the winter and the sun of the summer and we will provide the ashtrays,” Daou said.
Daou thanked the security forces that work in the Serail for implementing the decision, which sometimes entailed cracking down on personnel for smoking indoors.
Sanan added: “We congratulate the south and the governor, who is undertaking a real revolution in public administration.”
“We thank him for taking this step and we hope this will be the first among many governorates in Lebanon to do the same,” he said, adding he believed the law should be applied in all public buildings across the country.
Sanan cited studies that have shown 1 out of 6,000 Lebanese die every day due to smoking-related diseases. He added that 41 percent of youth in Lebanon between 13-15 smoke cigarettes and then graduate to drugs and other harder substances.
© The Daily Star 2015.Feb 2015