News roundup: Muscat soon to be smoke free

Thanks for all the contributions towards the 24hr muscat post, it's interesting to know there are so many 24hr places here in Muscat, please do contribute towards it if you know of a 24hr place that isn't listed either in the main article or in the very helpful comments.

Many of the Omani bloggers wrote recently on the seemingly hilarious (but not funny for those effected) ruling in the UAE courts with relation to the Sheik Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's drug-fuelled bout of torture. It's like it's something out of a comedy show. My question to add to this on-going topic of discussion (mostly over at the Undercover Dragon's blog, but also noted Dhofari Gucci and Suburban's Other Oman) is this: So the guy was hocked up on drugs - why has he therefore not been charged with substance abuse? The laws in the UAE are so strict, that you don't even need to have taken them to be charged. Most famously, just having a trace of them, on your person, is enough to do some hard time (read the story of this poor guy who got sent down for 4 years for having 0.003g of cannabis on his shoe).

Then of course, there's the more recent story of a British muslim woman who was raped in the toilets by a staff member of The Address hotel. She reported the raping to the police, but all they were interested in was how frequently she had sex with her fiance. The authorities ended up charging her, and her fiancée for "illegal sex". Insanity. The British embassy had to intervene and specifically request that she at least be given proper medical care after the raping because the police had just locked her up in a cell. And the emirates are trying to be seen as a progressive state? Better try harder.

The repo market may just have arrived in Dubai. Barclays recently won the right to foreclose on a number of properties - this may prompt the start of a spate of foreclosures in the cash-strapped emirate, and thus maybe perhaps the cheap spin-off market of foreclosed properties being flogged off cheap in order to realise funds.

But now, the main story (courtesy of Muscat Daily).

Muscat Municipality is to ban smoking (and chewing / sniffing of tobacco) in commercial places from April 1st. Being somewhat cynical my first reaction was that it was an attempt at April Fools humour by the people at Muscat Daily, but it was only a fleeting thought as I realised that Muscat is being dragged into the 21st century.

This is to include:

Shopping malls, entertainment venues (read: bars), and other places of leisure (read: restaurants).

Having just given up smoking (again) on Jan 1st, I'm rather pleased about it. How about you?

I will be entertained to see what the following establishments (off the top of my head) are going to do about it: Al Ghazal, Copacabana, Safari, Al Falaj, RBG, All restaurants in malls, Feenies pub, and many more....

It's about time though, really. I wonder if it'll be enforced?

le fin.
News roundup: Muscat soon to be smoke free News roundup: Muscat soon to be smoke free Reviewed by Sythe on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Sniffing tobacco?

    Even though I smoke, I like that everything will be non-smoking. I'd like to quit but find it extremely hard especially when cigarettes are so cheap here, and you can smoke pretty much everywhere.

    I think this is a good move!

    Congratulations to you on quitting!

  2. I agree - great that it's being banned for those of us that are trying not to smoke ! However as you say it will be interesting to see how it is enforced - I just can't see it myself - a little Philippina waitress telling an Omani gentleman that he can't smoke here - I don't think so !

  3. Ooh I hope so, will mean I can come home from the club/bar/restaurant/mall and my hair and clothes will not stink like smoke = happy days!

  4. *shocked face here*
    Guess I'm gonna have to amend my 51 reasons to love Oman down to 50.. :)

    Although comeing from a country that has strict smoking laws - I'm all for it - personally - I will smoke less if there is stricter laws

    Hey - kudos for giving up... hope you keep it up!

  5. If you look at the number of Shangri-la resales

    could the repo market have arrived in Oman ?

  6. AIO - I thought the same thing about sniffing!
    Becky - Very good comment - and that is what I will be looking for on April 1st, it'll definitely be entertaining!
    DID - Exactly - no more stinky clothes and no more temptation either!
    Gatvol - shame really, but thats still 50 reasons!
    ynotoman - I suspect its more a case of the units just having been completed, and people are now selling them, presumably for more than what they bought them for.

  7. Don't believe the PRDnationwide site - these are all old/phantom listings.
    PRD have all but closed down after being kicked off the project by the developer.

    Real listings are here - buyer beware!

  8. Oh WOW great news!

    I can't be happier.. you made my day!

    I was waiting for this.. thinking that it'll never happen in Oman any time soon, but it seems like the country's better than what I thought. YAAAAAY!

  9. Awesome!
    we used to have such ban only in Holy month,now its every month...I can picture my dad's sad face in the public places...Love it!

  10. Thumbs up to Oman (if this pulls through). I have been reading extensively about this country for the past weeks in preparation for our potential move there. Although there seems to be plenty of positive aspects about its society, there were a few things that made me cringe, which included this topic. If this smoking ban is really serious, I give a big salute to the Sultanate. It's going in the right direction!

    Will this include public buildings, offices, bars?

    Now what's left is to release their monopolizing restrictions on VOIP..


  11. As far as I can tell, it includes public buildings, offices and bars. Bearing in mind that all Government ministry buildings have been smoke-free for years.

    The restrictions on VOIP here can be circumvented. Just google for the answer.

  12. thats bollocks...f that

  13. Yes, and haven't they also banned using a mobile while driving, driving along the hard shoulder, jumping red lights and speeding?

    The enforcing will be interesting!

  14. One thing that made me love oman was that i could actually smoke anywhere....

  15. Nice comments everyone.... its always nice to read comments :)

    to the anon poster who posted about enforcement:

    An Irish friend of mine was recently picked up by the ROP for undertaking on the hard shoulder on the SQ highway - he went to jail for it. 48 hours, but got out after 24 hours.... and he said there were a lot of people in the lock up too.

    He slept with his back to the wall ;)


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