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Smoking ban in Iraq

Iraq’s cabinet has announced that it plans to ban smoking in all public places, the first such law in the Middle East: The stance is particularly aggressive — and perhaps unenforceable — especially in a nation where cigarettes sell for as little as 40 cents a pack and smoking in public areas and workplaces is ...

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A Shiite pilgrim woman smokes a cigarette as she sits on the ground outside Imam Ali Shrine in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, central Iraq, 18 January 2008. Shiites in their hundreds of thousands crowded the streets of Karbala today, many beating their own backs with metal chains as the annual Ashura ceremonies began building towards a peak. The rituals commemorating the killing of Imam Hussein by armies of the Sunni caliph Yazid in 680 will reach their climax in Karbala tomorrow, but processions marking Shiite Islam's holiest days have been held across the country for the past week. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID (Photo credit should read JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq’s cabinet has announced that it plans to ban smoking in all public places, the first such law in the Middle East:

The stance is particularly aggressive — and perhaps unenforceable — especially in a nation where cigarettes sell for as little as 40 cents a pack and smoking in public areas and workplaces is widespread. But it coincides with the government’s attempts to improve living conditions here, like Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s order on Wednesday to remove blast walls from most of Baghdad within 40 days.

Given what else is on their plate, I would hope that Iraqi police won’t be devoting a whole of their time to enforcing this. 

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