DAMASCUS - President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree banning smoking in a wide range of public places such as cafes and restaurants, official news agency SANA reported on Monday.
The decree "forbids smoking and the sale of tobacco in any form in cafes, restaurants and nightclubs as well as in schools, universities, hospitals, public transport, cinemas, theatres and museums."
"Tobacco is also banned in official meetings," it said, adding that designated smoking zones can be established in public places.
The Syrian government has passed several laws restricting smoking. A decree in 1996 banned tobacco advertising while a 2006 law outlawed smoking on transport and in some public places, introducing fines for offenders.
In March last year the Syrian ministry of local government and the environment issued a regulation banning the sale of tobacco to under-18s.