The Muscat municipality has decided to ban smoking sheesha or hubble bubble in public places starting from March 15th, reported the Oman Observer newspaper.
All public places, including hotels, restaurants and other eateries have been informed that "sheesha smoking is banned and anyone found violating the law will be strictly dealt with," an official told the paper.
The council has debated the issues for a long time and weighed the pros and cons before taking a firm decision to stop this menace, the official added, noting that "we have noticed that some of the sheesha smokers are below the age of 18."
The idea behind this initiative is to counter the efforts of the tobacco industry in general and hotels in particular to initiate more people into smoking, said the Observer.
Thirty to fifty percent of the people in the GCC countries are smokers and around 50 percent of students at high schools in these countries also smoke.
The reason for the high incidence of smoking among the student population is that they are targeted by cigarette company advertisements, reports have previously indicated.
GCC states imported 65 billion cigarettes in 1998 alone costing them around $1.3 billion in addition to the costs of medical treatment, fires, and the decrease in productivity due to smoking – Albawaba.com