Smoking ban in public goes into effect in Syria

DAMASCUS, Syria — A smoking ban has gone into effect in Syria, although few are expected to abide by the measure.
The ban targets most public places, from restaurants and cafes to schools and hospitals. It also covers parks, sports centers, movie theaters, museums and public transportation.
The law, which forbids the sale of cigarettes to minors as well, was approved six months ago by President Bashar Assad as part of a push to improve public health. It comes into effect Wednesday.
The ban also forbids one of the Mideast's favorite pastimes — smoking water pipes — except in well-ventilated and designated areas. Offenders will be fined about $45 and $870, and received anywhere from 3 months to a year in jail, depending on the violation.
Smoking remains popular in Syria.