Addis Ababa to enforce smoke ban

    Authorities in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said yesterday that they would start to enforce a ban on tobacco smoking in public places in less than a month, according to a story in the Sudan Tribune.

    Ethiopian lawmakers in 2014 unanimously passed a law banning smoking in public places but Addis Ababa will become only the second Ethiopian city to enforce the law. Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region, put the law into effect in January 2015.

    But officials in Addis Ababa say there was a reason for the delay.

    “The implementation of the law banning smoking in Addis Ababa was delayed to buy time for awareness raising activities,” said Zeyneba Shikur, deputy director general in the Addis Ababa Food, Medicine, Health Care and Control Authority.

    Once enforcement begins, the owners of bars and other recreational institutions in Addis Ababa will be liable to fines of at least $95 for violating the ban, whereas, in Mekelle, the fine is set at $150.

    Under the law, too, people who send persons under 18 years of age to buy cigarettes will be fined $119, while those found selling less than a full pack of cigarettes will be liable also to a fine of $119.

    According to the Tribune story, Ethiopia is one of only six countries with a smoking prevalence among those over 15 years of age of below five percent.