State of Smoking in Lebanon
Party to the world health organization framework convention on tobacco control (who FCTC):
Since the who FCTC:
- Smoking reduction: After Lebanon ratified the FCTC in 2005, smoking rates decreased from 34.7 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2016.
- Bans: In 2011, Lebanon banned smoking in most enclosed public places, but the law enables hotels to allocate 20 percent of their capacity for smokers. The government also banned tobacco advertising in television, radio, print media, and point of sale in 2012. The minimum age to smoke or purchase tobacco is 18 years old.
- Health warnings: All tobacco products require a text warning on the front and back of the packaging. Legislation in 2011 expanded the minimum requirement for those warnings to 40 percent of the packaging surface area.
- Tobacco tax rates: The tobacco tax rate in Lebanon is 41 percent.
Lebanon’s Tobacco Control and Regulation of Tobacco Products’ Manufacturing, Packaging and Advertising (Law No. 174) prohibits the advertising and promotion of tobacco products in traditional and electronic media. The law regulates all tobacco products the same, including cigarettes, smokeless products, e-cigarettes, and heat-not-burn products. Smoking, vaping, and use of heat-not-burn products is banned in hospitals, schools, and many public buildings in Lebanon, and regulations mandate health warnings must occupy 40 percent of tobacco packaging’s surface area.
Recent media coverage in Lebanon tends to focus on the country’s e-cigarette ban, health concerns surrounding e-cigarettes, and the influence of e-cigarettes on young people. Because of the ban, some smokers have become involved in the illegal trading and use of e-cigarettes. Coverage also notes the recent boost to Lebanon’s tobacco farming, as the country accepts more Syrian refugees who also smoke at high rates.
Views of Alternatives to Smoking:
The Lebanese government has stated that there are no studies regarding the health effects of e-cigarettes. Because of the tobacco industry’s influence on the government and the government’s control of the media, Lebanese people are often told that e-cigarettes are potentially more harmful than standard cigarettes and are a danger to Lebanese youth.
By the Numbers:
- Approximately 1.1 million people ages 18 and older currently smoke.
- Lebanon is ranked third in the world for highest cigarette consumption per capita.
- Approximately 3,500 people die every year in Lebanon because of tobacco-related diseases .
- 2,038 cigarettes on average are smoked per person per year.