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Crackdown against smokers in Avenues

KUWAIT: Joint teams from the Environment Public Authority (EPA) and environment police tour the Avenues mall. —KUNA

KUWAIT: In a broad crackdown campaign on violators of law banning smoking in public places, joint teams from the Environment Public Authority (EPA) and environment police toured the Avenues mall, and issued on-site-citations for violators.

“The campaign is meant to enforce provisions of the environment protection law which bans smoking in public places,” EPA Director General Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah told reporters during the campaign. He added that the inspectors and environment police have issued on-the-site citations for dozens of the violators, both nationals and expats.

Sheikh Abdullah clarified that the EPA has launched an intensive awareness campaign in the mall ahead of today’s move. The law-breakers will be fined KD 50 for the first instance and KD 100 for repeat offenses and would be given a 15-day ultimatum to pay the fine or be referred to prosecution, he said.

Meanwhile, the EPA Deputy Director General for Technical Affairs Mohammad Al-Enezi unveiled that 30 inspectors and policemen have participated in Friday’s campaign. He lauded people and store’s abidance by the law, noting that violators are only a small minority.

Enezi stated that the inspectors have also instructed stores and Tabaco vendors to remove advertisements that breach article number 56 of the law. The mall’s administration was also asked to remove some smoking rooms which do not meet relevant standards, he said.

Meanwhile, Head of the Environment Police Department Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Al-Ajmi said that the Environment Police have prioritized the Avenues due to its importance as one of the main tourist destinations in Kuwait.

He stressed that malls’ visitors should enjoy their shopping and entertainment experience in a pollution-free environment. He warned that stores and restaurants that violate the law would pay fine of KD 5,000.

Kuwait has issued a law banning smoking and shisha in all public places, including airports, cafes, restaurants, shopping centers and recreational areas. The ban issued upon a recommendation from the health authorities covers all forms of tobacco and is applicable in all areas of the country.

The ban was attributed to promoting public health and preserving people’s safety. Under the ban, cafes, restaurants and hotels have to allocate a secluded area for smokers. The authorities warned that non-compliance with the ban could result in legal action against violators and announced that inspectors will monitor all public places to ensure full respect for the new rules. – KUNA

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