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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Ethiopia Bans Smoking in Public Places, Advertising Alcoholic Beverages

Lifestyle & Health

Muluneh Gebre

Wed, 06 Feb 2019 22:02 GMT

The Ethiopian Parliament on Wednesday February 6th approved a bill providing for the prohibition of smoking in public places and advertising alcoholic beverages on public media outlets.

The ban will be effective after three months. No clarification was given as to why the prohibition would begin at that time.

The new law bans smoking within 100 metres of public and work places, health institutions and youth recreational centres, among others.

It also bans anyone from selling alcoholic drinks to persons under 21 years of age.

A smoking ban has been in place in Addis Ababa at public gatherings and venues, despite the country having one of the lowest tobacco usage rates in the world.

According to the new law, smoking will be made illegal in places including bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as at major public gatherings such as religious festivals. Smoking on streets is still permitted but there are no tobacco advertisements in either electronic or print media.

The latest law was approved after the Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration Control Authority (FMHACA) brought the matter to the attention of MPs. Violators of the law will face a fine of 2,000 Ethiopian Biir ($92) or 2,500 Ethiopian Biir ($116) for those who send children under the age of 18 to buy cigarettes for them.

The prevalence of smoking in Ethiopia is one of the lowest in the world—only 0.5% of Ethiopian women and 8.9% of Ethiopian men smoke any tobacco product, according to 2012 data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the World Lung Foundation, Ethiopians smoked an average of just 75 cigarettes per year in 2014.

Ethiopia signed up to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004 and has until 2020 to implement the ban on smoking in public places across the country.