What is the tobacco control law?
The law prohibits smoking in public places such as restaurants, bars, cafes and offices and bans all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion such as billboards and magazine adverts as well as tobacco company sponsorship of concerts and other events.Individuals caught smoking in enclosed public spaces will be subject to a fine of LL100,000.
How to help implement the non-smoking campaign?
Dr. Rima Naccache from The faculty of Health Science at the American University of Beirut is collaborating with the Tobacco Control Research Group, the Neighborhood Initiative and the Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service at AUB. They are preparing to celebrate the implementation of the law 174 and help neighborhood restaurants in the Hamra area make the switch to smoke-free. The law currently forbids smoking in public workplaces but this will extend to restaurants and bars starting September 3rd, 2012.
Thus, they are preparing for the big day on September 3rd. They have been working intensively with over 50 restaurants in the neighborhood, informing them of the law and getting their opinion on the process of designing a campaign of posters and other materials. On the night of the event, restaurant staff will be wearing special t-shirts and will hand out pins. Several restaurants will hand out free coffee or juice, volunteers will be handing out Ministry of Health-issued brochures about the law and there will be bands performing live music. It will be a fun, family, neighborly event and will help restaurants on their first smoke-free day.
The Program of the event is expected to extend over 3 hours as below:
– 7:00 pm: Live Concert at Hamra Square (near Starbucks and Laziz restaurants) featuring 8 to 10 local bands
– 8:30pm: Distribution of musicians, artists, and volunteers at various Hamra streets to interact with the people at the restaurants and provide the needed awareness about the law. A good number of restaurants will be serving free drinks and food between 8:30pm and 9:30pm.
What do you think of this smoke-free initiative?
Helwi El Hayet