Roll-out of smoking ban under test

In the first test of how legislation prohibiting smoking in all public places will play out with Egyptians, Al-Masry Al-Youm has observed violations of a pilot procedural ban that is gradually being implemented in government agencies and on public transportation throughout the country, beginning in Alexandria.

No smoking signs on public buses at the Abdel Monem Riad bus stop failed to dissuade passengers from lighting up.

Al-Sayyed Abdallah, a public bus driver, said he believed the ban was a very good idea, but difficult to implement. “How can a driver force a passenger not to smoke? And how can he take violators to the police station to file a report?”

“We are required to drive passengers to their destinations, so we cannot stop on our way to take one smoking passenger to the police station,” he added.

Employees and citizens at a public building in Giza were also seen puffing on cigarettes.

Mohamed Ahmed Fekri, a Giza tax authority head, said his employees were respecting the ban and none have so far had to pay any penalties for smoking.

Egyptians smoke some 19 billion cigarettes each year and Egypt is the biggest Arab consumer of cigarettes.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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