(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat Municipality is planning to introduce new regulations for sheesha cafs in the governorate. A Municipal Council committee meeting last week discussed the issue of sheesha smoking in public places.
''Committee members deliberated upon new regulations on sheesha cafs. The regulations will be announced once approved,'' an official from Muscat Municipality said, adding that presently, smoking sheesha in open spaces is allowed, but under the new rules licences of those cafs which don't provide dedicated closed sheesha smoking areas will not be renewed.
Another proposal submitted at the meeting called for banning sheesha smoking in closed public places also.
The local order No 2/2009, which bans cigarette smoking in closed public places, was issued on October 31, 2009 and came into effect in April 2010. ''It has achieved remarkable success in limiting smoking in these places, but not so in regards to sheesha cafs.''
The official said the order did not cover sheesha cafs, but now the committee is studying this aspect. ''The Ministry of Health (MoH) has already advised the municipality to ban sheesha smoking in public places just like it did with cigarette smoking.''
Dr Jawad al Lawati, senior consultant, Rapporteur of the National Tobacco Control Committee, MoH, said, ''The legislation bans all kinds of smoking in closed public spaces. The law doesn't distinguish. It speaks about all kinds of tobacco smoking and we have been advising the municipality to ban sheesha smoking in restaurants. We hope they come up with new regulations in this regard.''
In a study out a few years ago, 80 per cent of the respondents wanted sheesha smoking in public areas banned, according to MoH. ''Sheesha cafs should be closed all over as many youths tend to make them their meeting points. Even those who do not smoke start doing so after visiting such cafs. I feel sheesha cafs encourage smoking,'' Rashid al Farsi, a citizen, said.
During last week's Municipal Council meeting, a number of other proposals were submitted by members which included banning the sale of smoking and non-smoking t