Thursday, April 8, 2010

Some great [Lebanese] news!

What do you say to starting off the day with some EXCELLENT news??

I think it's a SPLENDID idea!

How about trying this on for size--a smoking ban in public plans in Lebanon is expected to take effect within a year--oh yes!! You can go ahead and read that again! This is somewhere on par with the Syrians forced to flee the country as in: "I never though I'd live to see the day when this would happen in Lebanon."

This monumental decision obviously occurred because we asked you to join the "Ban indoor smoking in public places in Lebanon" group on facebook two days ago--congrats guys! You did it! :P

Ok, so what are the details and the loopholes/catches you may ask?

- smoking banned in all public places within a year (according to George Saadeh, head of National Tobacco Control Program at a debate on the issue Tuesday at the AUB)
- ban would encompass all public spaces, including restaurants and cafes (and clubs i'm assuming??)
- ban affects not only cigarettes but nargileh and all other tobacco products
- ban will be enforced by fining violators: up to 50,000LL for an individual violator and 1 million LL for owners of establishments where violations occur
- smoking will be reduced
- you won't die of secondhand smoke every time you go out
- you wont come home with your clothes smelling like you've just escaped a burning building
- overall smoking in the population will decrease in the long run
- quite simply people will lead healthier lives

and what do we have for the cons?

- the only exempt public spaces from the ban would be outdoor spaces (how very French of us)
- Enforcement--take the Beirut Airport for example--smoking is banned indoors and yet right below the non-smoking sign is an ashtray.
- it still hasn't been enforced yet, no official legislation has been signed, so it's really just us trusting politicians, and yeh--i don't like the sound of that, so i'll believe it when i see it

Yeh...I would say the Pros outweigh the Cons...

Whats next? Ban on tobacco product advertising?? Health warning on cigarettes? Higher prices for cigarettes???

Read the Daily Star article here

So I want to be more cautious before I celebrate--because after all it is Lebanon--a place where optimists often have their souls crushed by 8-inch platform diamond-studded heels--but I can't help but smile :)

"Monsieur, tfee il sigara iza bit reed! Il tadkheen mamnou3. Merci"




  1. Great!

    Now i'm gonna have more funny photos from my holidays in Lebanon, like the "no smoking" signs with a policeman smoking right under it.

    This ban will be just ink on paper, coz no restaurant, pub, or club is gonna tell a paying customer (especially with the Lebanese up-themselves mentality) to put out their cigarette.

    And can you imagine a club scene without those meter long cigars! How’s the leb guy gonna “fanniss” without that cigar “ya man”

    I definitely agree with you that i'm gonna be more cautious before celebration.

  2. Isn't that the most frustrating thing?? I want to strangle the airport officials every time I see them smoking in the airport--if the people who are supposed to be enforcing the ban don't even follow it how the hell is anyone else supposed to??

    But I'd like to think like anything in Lebanon, that once the ban is implemented, it will slowly (and with the help of Lebanese expats) take form.

    See the examples of the painted lines in the road or the stop signs or the speed limits (all related to driving but these are what come to mind). When these were first introduced almost no one but expats obeyed, and now, with time, more and more people (though akid not all) are following the rules.

    So yalla, I think being optimistic and yet skeptical is within merit.