(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — The 'firm' implementation of the Public Health Law is the 'cornerstone' of achieving the desired behavioural changes relating to tobacco consumption, which will 'lead to a healthier society', experts agreed on Thursday.
More institutions are 'showing commitment' and anti-tobacco efforts are becoming 'more serious' to implement the newly amended law, which bans smoking in public areas, said the Health Ministry's Spokesperson Hatem Azrui.
Recent amendments to the law imposed further restrictions on those who smoke in public places, including imprisonment for one to three months or a JD100-JD200 penalty for smoking in public areas and a fine of JD1,000 to JD3,000 for owners of facilities where violations take place.
Furthermore, recent amendments modified the definition of a public place, adding a more comprehensive definition, in accordance with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Azrui noted that official inspection efforts take place in parallel with awareness raising efforts, adding that it is still early to measure the impact of amendments.
Meanwhile, he said the ministry's 566 trained liaison officers on law enforcement have issued 19 violation tickets to institutions and 60 other warnings, and closed down two coffee shops since the beginning of the intensified campaign.
Mervat Mheirat, the director of the Greater Amman Municipality's health supervision department, agreed with Azrui, noting that impact measurement will take place at least a year from now.
Mheirat said that a number of violations has been referred to the judiciary, expecting further impact of the law after court rulings are announced some fout-five months from now.
She noted that amendments to the law will help curb smoking in public areas, especially among underage people.
'Smoking is spreading, even in places where young people are supposed to practise physical and mental activities,' she told The Jordan Times over the phone, adding that awareness raising has to particularly address this segment.