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Government decision to allow shisha in restaurants provokes civil opposition

19-6-2020

Unions, universities, hospitals and health and civil society organizations sent an open letter to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers asking them to withdraw a decision to restore the shisha services in public places due to its multiple health risks. The president of the Lebanese Order of Physicians, Sharaf Abu Sharaf, is expected to hold a press conference today on the above decision and related Banning Smoking or Tobacco Control Law No. 174. This call comes after a circular issued by the minister of tourism Wednesday which allows the serving of shisha outdoors in restaurants and cafes. The Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Nightclubs and Patisseries has been requesting a relaxation of the smoking ban act (https: //bit.ly/3dabGd6). The letter cautioned the need to reverse the decision and strictly comply to Law 174 especially in the time of coronavirus and after that, citing studies which have shown that smoking of any kind increases the risk of infection with Covid-19. It enumerated the detrimental impact of smoking on coronavirus patients. The signatories of the letter demanded a complete ban of shisha during and after corona advising for taking lessons from the progress made in this direction during the lockdown and coordinating between ministries for a rigorous enforcement of Law No. 174. The letter can be found on the following link: (https://bit. ly/30T7Mmt). According to Al Akhbar newspaper, the parties signing the letter, are, the Orders of Physicians, Nurses, Engineers and the Beirut Bar Association, in addition to private universities, including AUB, USJ, Antonine and LAU, the K2P Center at AUB, Campaign 174 and the WHO Center for Hookah Smoking Research at AUB. (An Nahar, Al Akhbar, June 19, 2020)

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