Tunisians will no longer be able to smoke in public spaces, according to Health Minister Samira Merai.
A new bill on tobacco control will be proposed at a ministerial council that will take place in the next few days in line with new international guidelines. This will include a smoking ban in public spaces and limits placed on advertising tobacco.
The rate of male smokers in Tunisia is estimated at 50 per cent, a rate considered “very high” at the level of the MENA region and which is likely to increase over the next 10 years, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to Habib Ghedira, who is responsible for implementing this joint strategy between the ministry and WHO, the number of smokers has not declined despite the ministry’s efforts.
“The prevalence of smoking remains very high among students (20 per cent). That is why a national participatory tobacco control strategy has been put in place,” Ghedira explained.
Ghedira said this strategy essentially plans to detoxify public spaces including ministries, hospitals and schools. The objective, he said, is to guarantee the right of non-smokers to not be affected by smokers.
According to the latest figures announced by the Ministry of Health, smoking causes between 30 and 40 deaths per day in Tunisia.
- of males in Tunisia smoke