A number of Jordanians have joined forces to combat smoking in public places across Amman and beyond.
The movement came after Batoul Arnaout recently initiated a petition on social media, encouraging her friends and the public to sign it to "send a message to the government" to further impose Tobacco Control Law as part of Public Health Law #47.
Among the suggestions included in the petition were prohibiting smoking cigarettes and hookah in public places, parks, sports cities, hospitals, malls, government facilities, sports halls, football stadiums and theaters.
It also suggested fining violators JD500 ($705), with part of the tickets' proceeds going to cancer patients.
The petition also noted that pregnant women should not have access to areas that serve hookah, stressing that such places should face sanctions if they did not abide by the law.
Arnaout said the poor implementation of the existing law inspired her to launch this campaign. “As soon as I posted this petition over Facebook, everyone quickly reacted positively with it. Many people are suffering from smoking,” she told The Jordan Times in a recent interview over the phone.
Under the Public Health Law, smoking is prohibited in hospitals, healthcare centres, schools, cinemas, theatres, libraries, museums, public and non-governmental buildings, public transport vehicles, airports, closed playgrounds, lecture halls and any other location to be determined by the health minister.
However, Arnaout said she noticed that the law is not well implemented in the areas covered by the law.
Bisher Khasawneh, who is a fan of jogging at the sports forest inside Al Hussein Sports City, said “sometimes, I see a lot of young people smoking inside the forest. I smell smoking instead of fresh air!”
Riham Al Masri, who suffers from smoke allergy, said this allergy made her face difficulty in speaking most of the time, noting that she had to go abroad to receive medical care, paying "a fortune for that".
She told The Jordan Times that she now "works hard to search for venues that are free of smoking" to be able to enjoy her leisure time.
“I was at a beauty salon once and I was shocked that a hookah delivery had been ordered for one of the customers,” she recounted.
On her Facebook page, HRH Princess Dina Mired said she joined Jordanians in signing the petition, with the aim to show support to the fight against smoking in public venues.
“I signed the petition that calls for activating the Tobacco Control Law in public areas in Jordan. Sign to protect our young people from the conspiracy of smoking companies that insist in trading our young men and women to fill their pocket with millions of JDs. The whole process is about money and material profits,” the official Facebook page of Princess Dina read.
Zeina Shahzada-Majali, founding member of the No to Smoking Society, said they already launched several petitions in the past, but there were no positive response to such steps.
“The impact of this petition depends on the current government. We noticed that there are initial steps to combat smoking but we still need more. When a smoking violation is treated like a mobile phone violation while driving, then we will sense a lot of positive change,” she added.
Every year, more than 3,100 Jordanians are killed by a tobacco-caused disease, which means 61 deaths per week. Still, more than 9,000 children aged between 10 and 14 years and 1.051 million people over 15 years of age continue to use tobacco each day, according to the Tobacco Atlas 2018.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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