Research paper
CC-BY-NC 4.0

Implementation of an indoor smoking ban and an advertising/ sponsorship ban in Lebanon: a baseline cross-sectional study

Rima Nakkash 1,  
Rima Afifi 1,  
Nadia Fanous 1,  
Nabil Tabbal 2,  
Dahlia Saab 1  
American University of Beirut
Save the Children International, Antakya, Turkey
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2016;2(May):63
Publish date: 2016-05-22
Although the majority of countries ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, few have comprehensive smoke-free laws and compliance is not always satisfactory. In 2011, Lebanon, having among the highest smoking rates in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, passed a comprehensive tobacco control law (Law 174). This study aimed to assess compliance with Law 174 among smokers and non-smokers in Beirut (the capital), three months after the ban in closed public places and on advertisement and promotion came into effect.

A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted. Multi-stage cluster sampling identified 159 households, yielding 468 respondents aged 15-65 years. Data was collected face-to-face using a structured questionnaire. Weighted descriptive and bivariate analyses were performed.

Three months after the ban came into effect in 2011, all respondents knew about Law 174. Around half witnessed other people smoking in their workplace (44.2%), restaurants/coffee shops (52.8%) and public transportation (60.0%) in the past months. Less than 20% witnessed any tobacco promotion/advertisements, reflecting good compliance of the advertising sector. Overall, more than half the smokers continued smoking (workplace/closed public places).

This study provided information about compliance to the smoking ban in Beirut. The advertising sector's compliance would hopefully decrease the tobacco industry’s influence on the public. Further studies aiming at understanding the underlying factors behind the lack of compliance to the indoor smoking ban and finding effective solutions in a politically unstable country with weak rule of law like Lebanon are crucial and can serve as an example for similar developing countries.

Dahlia Saab   
American University of Beirut, American University of Beirut, Riad el Solh street, Beirut, Lebanon, PO-box 11-0236 Beirut, Lebanon