Saudi Arabia imposes ban on smoking

Travellers who smoke will no longer be able to do so in tourist locations in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government has brought in a ban on smoking at tourist locations in the nation. Saudi Arabia’s General Commission for Tourism and Antiquities said that the ban has been imposed on all tourism facilities. The ban includes hotels, furnished apartments, travel agencies and all closed areas where tourism activities are organised. This means that tourists who are hoping to smoke may need to review their travel plans and make new arrangements for smoking in private.

The ministries directive has asked staff working in the tourism sector to strictly abide by the new regulations. Authorities have said that severe measures will be taken against those who violate the new directive. The commission said that the decision was taken to prevent smoking in all closed public areas in the kingdom, but the new regulation is also considered ironic because Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s leading cigarette markets. Some parts of the government have been aggressively pushing for restrictions on smoking in public.

Last month, municipal authorities in the Saudi Red Sea resort of Jeddah shut down 242 restaurants and cafes for serving shisha. According to official figures, Saudi Arabia is home to six million smokers, including around 800,000 teenagers, mainly intermediate and high school students, and 600,000 women.

The nation, which is a known disciplinarian for its religious laws and convictions, does not take violations leniently and it is expected that those who flout the rules will be punished severely.