- Special Pages
By Azmat Haroon
Doha: Shopping complexes will have more powers to control smoking in their premises once a new anti-tobacco law comes into force.
The law will be stringent and may give shopping mall managements the right to impose fines, a senior public health official said yesterday.
It will also help public health inspectors collect fines systematically, Dr Mohammed Al Thani, Director of the Public Health Department at the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), said at a press conference on the launch of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in Qatar.
The managements of shopping complexes have long expressed their inability to implement anti-smoking laws due to lack of legal authority.
“The new law will support health inspectors to collect fines in a better way and it will also support the people who control public places,” Al Thani said. The law is with the Cabinet and the SCH is waiting for its approval.
“The law is with the Cabinet. They sent it for some modifications to be reviewed by us, and now we are waiting for the approval,” Dr Al Anood Al Thani, Director of Health Protection and Non-communicable Diseases at the SCH, said.
The anti-tobacco unit of SCH collected more than QR300,000 in fines from smokers for lighting up in public places last year.
A total of 829 people were handed out fines in over 1,000 raids conducted between January and November in 2012.
Qatar’s Law No. 20 of 2002 prohibits smoking outside designated areas, and violators can face fines.
Penalties can be handed out to those who sell tobacco less than 500 metres from an educational institution. Selling tobacco to anyone under 18 years of age is also prohibited.
“We are hoping that the new law will come soon from the Cabinet and that it will be stricter,”
Dr Mohammed Al Thani said.