(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Mall administrations were struggling to enforce an anti-smoking law that went into effect yesterday.
Smokers were defiant despite attempts by mall officials to impose the Public Health Law.
Mall officials told The Jordan Times that the majority of smokers just ignore security personnel attempting to inform them of the law and refuse to put out their cigarettes.
"We only succeeded in convincing around 5 per cent of smokers at the mall to go out for a cigarette, and those are the mall's employees," Saad Dodoakh, general supervisor at Mecca Mall, told The Jordan Times.
He added that the mall was declared as a smoke-free zone and was posting signs and using loudspeakers to notify customers of the law.
Those who refused to abide by the law are calling for a smoking area, so that they could avoid going outside especially during the winter.
"I am not crazy to go out in this cold for a cigarette… I tried it once today but it was cold and I could not bear it," Syrian visitor Mohammad Mirza, told the Jordan Times on Sunday afternoon when the temperature outside was 5oC. Mirza added that he prefers not to go to a mall than to comply with the new regulations.
This was also the same attitude of his friend, Rakan Azar. "I will not go to a mall that bans smoking unless there is a place where I am allowed to smoke," Azar told The Jordan Times.
Mall administrations have no problem with designating a smoking area so as not to alienate their customers. But they blame the delay on the authorities, who promised to provide them with a set of criteria governing the location and specifications of the smoking areas.
"We have not received the list of criteria from the ministry as was promised," Zaid Daoud from City Mall's administration said.
He cited "mixed reactions" from customers who stopped by the mall yesterday.
"Some refused to stop smoking, some left the mall to smoke outside while others were really cooperative and immediately put out their cigarettes," Daoud added.
Smokers who accepted the decision said although it is a difficult one for them, still they have to respect the law.
"After all, this is good for public health and I'm willing to comply," Ata Reqeb who was smoking at Mecca Mall's entrance said.
Guatemalan Josselyn Zirion agreed, responding with a smile to the security staff when they told her she should not have been smoking. "Well, I spend long hours on a plane without smoking. I can abstain from smoking for a couple of hours inside a mall," she told The Jordan Times.
The Public Health Law was recently amended to prohibit smoking in public and private institutions and all public facilities.
The ban includes hospitals, healthcare centres, schools, cinemas, theatres, libraries, museums, public and nongovernmental buildings, public transport vehicles, airports, closed playgrounds, lecture halls and any other location determined by the health minister.
Those found smoking at public facilities face a JD15-20 fine or a prison term ranging from one week to a month, in accordance with the law.