Saudi club cuts salaries of players caught smoking shisha

August 24, 2012

A topflight football team in Saudi Arabia is imposing financial penalties on a group of players caught smoking shisha.

Players who were reportedly spotted smoking shisha in a coffee shop in Abu Dhabi, where the team is taking part in a friendly tournament, will lose up to half of their salaries for breaking the rules and regulations of Al Nasr team, Saudi Arabic daily Al Sharq reported.

Shisha, the single or multi-stemmed instrument for smoking flavoured tobacco, is popular among young people, in line with a culture that is deeply embedded across the Middle East.

The decision by the Riyadh-based team formed in 1955 is in line with the drive by Saudi authorities to reinforce a ban on public smoking.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s leading consumers of cigarettes, reiterated the significance of applying a ban on smoking in public places.

Prince Ahmad Bin Abdul Aziz, the interior minister, said that smoking at all ministry offices, government institutions and public places was banned under a royal decree and that the ban was deemed a necessity, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

The negative effects of smoking on individuals and society in general have prompted several countries, including those where the large tobacco companies are based, to impose limitations on smokers, the minister’s directives said.

“Since we are a Muslim country, we must be an example for other countries in applying the rules of Islam that call for preserving people’s money and interests and public health care,” the directives said. “We must stress that smoking is banned in all closed places, including coffee shops, restaurants, shopping malls and crowded areas. The ban extends to cigarettes and to shishas.”

There is a full ban on the sale of cigarettes to people under the age of 18, the directives said.

According to official figures, there are nearly six million smokers in Saudi Arabia. The figures include around 800,000 teenagers, mainly intermediate and high school students, and 600,000 women.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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