Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Labor and Social Development, Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi، issued an order to effectively ban smoking in all workplaces and offices in the country.
The decision seeks to strictly implement an existing rule that's part of the kingdom's anti-smoking law. Passed in 2015, the legislation aims to "combat smoking by taking all necessary measures at the levels of State, community and individuals." Its seventh article calls on smoking to be prohibited in both public and private workplaces.
The application of these laws was not strictly implemented and monitored in the past. But, that's all about to change.
In his order, Al-Rajhi stressed that any company that continues to allow smoking in its premises will be held accountable. The decision includes prohibitions on all forms of tobacco use including shisha (hookah).
Punishments that will be implemented against those found to be violating rules will include a fine of up to 5,000 riyals ($1,333).
The kingdom has previously taken steps to curb smoking
In 2016, the kingdom started implementing rules passed under its anti-smoking law. Those included orders banning "smoking near mosques and educational, health, sports, cultural, social and charity institutions."
The rules also prohibited smoking outside of smoking zones in business establishments. However, this specific rule wasn't properly applied in the past few years.