Paul Ariss, former head of the restaurant owners syndicate, declared today that restaurants will boycott Law 174 as work has deteriorated by 60 percent ever since authorities implemented the smoking ban. Demonstrators blocked the Sodeco road today to protest the damage inflicted by the ban.

Interestingly enough, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud criticized the smoking ban law yesterday during an interview on MTV, calling it “غباء تشريعي”. As I had stated on previous occasions, the law should have been implemented gradually as there are way too many Shisha cafés in Lebanon that could close down due to this ban.

There are two ways to solve this problem:

1- Put the law on hold for 6 months or until the winter ends, so that Shisha restaurants don’t have to close down and have time to set up an outdoor terrace or a closed rooftop.

2- Amend the law and issue a special (expensive) permit to allow indoor-smoking for a fixed number of Shisha cafés, and forbid the opening of any new Shisha café.