Indyact Condemns Lebanese Restaurant Violating Tobacco Control Law After The Government Failed to Enforce it!

Indyact Condemns Lebanese Restaurant Violating Tobacco Control Law After The Government Failed to Enforce it!
Beirut, Jan 17, 2013 - After a number of violations against Tobacco Control law number 174 have been registered and reported, IndyACT decided that it is time to take action against the violators themselves since the government seems to fail in enforcing law and order on them. That’s why IndyACT organized a direct action on the Lebanese restaurant “Enab” today in Mar Mkhayel, knowing that it has been violating the law for a while the Ministry of Interior has not dealt seriously with the issue so far. 
In fact, the MOI and ministry of tourism are sadly subduing to the pressures implemented by the tobacco industry through the syndicate of Lebanese restaurants, pubs and cafes owners. This has lead to restaurants like Enab to claim falsely that they have a special permit from the MOT allowing their customers to smoke hookahs inside their closed place even though it clearly opposes all terms of the law. 
IndyACT actually chose this restaurant not to target it per say but to make it an example for the several other places that are violating the law. Moreover, Enab happens to be located right next to IndyACT’s headquarters which explains the statement that spread over the 9 meters banner all over the building next to the restaurant. The banner read “Because Neighbors are as important, Enab Restaurant, Implement Tobacco Control law 174”. 
The action also aims at encouraging the Lebanese citizens to exercise their civil rights and protect this law which was passed by the Lebanese parliament based on the efforts of a number of non-governmental organizations. That is why we believe that each every citizen should take instant yet peaceful action upon witnessing any violation against smoking law 174. 
IndyACT also intends to make an example out of this restaurant, and not to target it per say, in order for all other restaurants and pubs violating the law to know that the civil society is a constant watchdog over the implementation of the anti-smoking law.
“We encourage all Lebanese citizens to work on implementing tobacco control law 174 themselves especially after the government failed to assign enough touristic police to monitor its complete enforcement for no obvious reason. The real tragedy was in fact when the Minister of Tourism and Minister of Interior stated before new years’ eve that they will over look the violations against law 174 on the holiday season and they shall not implement it knowing that those are the same authority figures whose job is to enforce the law!” said Media Campaigner at IndyACT, Ali Fakhry.
Fakhry added, “Law 174 was passed to protect the lives of 3500 Lebanese citizens who are dying annually due to smoking-related diseases. It’s crucial that we all carry this responsibility or this law will be ignored like many others”.
Finally, the activists gave Enab’s manager a copy of Law 174 to explain to them their violations and the financial penalties that will follow.
After the action ended, three workers at Enab broke into IndyACT’s office and tried to remove the banner when IndyACT staff stopped them and called the internal security forces to report this. We were surprised then that a member of ISF came to ask for details of the banner instead of taking details on their break in. 
IndyACT is currently following up on the issue with its lawyers and the ISF. Our sole concern is to show that we are all below the law and we refuse to violate any law like what such restaurants are doing.

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