July 31, 2012 (Washington, DC) — Interior Minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz announced this week that Saudi Arabia will begin enforcing the royal decree banning smoking in public places effective immediately. Under the official order, smoking, including shisha (waterpipe), is banned in all government facilities and most commercial areas, including restaurants, supermarkets, and shopping malls. The order also prohibits the sale of tobacco to those under the age of 18.
“This ban represents a significant step in the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts to decrease the smoking population in Saudi Arabia,” said Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. “Saudi Arabia is committed to improving the overall health and well-being of its citizens, and continues to focus considerable efforts on health initiatives throughout the Kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia has launched several anti-smoking campaigns in recent years, including the elimination of all smoking in airports.