Syria bans smoking in public places

Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:34pm EDT
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DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria banned smoking inside public places on Sunday, the official news agency said.

The decree, signed by President Bashar al-Assad, sets a fine of 2,000 ($46) Syrian pounds on anyone flouting the ban in cafes, pubs and restaurants, the SANA agency said.

The ban extends to schools and public transport, and covers the nargile, or water pipe, a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Those owning and running buildings where people violate the law, which also includes strengthening a ban on tobacco adverts, will be fined and, in some cases, imprisone

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Alison Williams)