Saudi Law

Cafes and Restaurant Offering Shisha Needs to Pay SR 100,000 Yearly to Get the License

Saudi Vision 2030

The Kingdom has been wide measures and effective steps in promoting new initiatives, services, Art and culture throughout the country. The foremost reason for such activities is the pro-active persuasion of Saudi Vision 2030 set by the Kingdom.

In pursuance of Saudi vision 2030, the Kingdom has introduced significant laws which ensure the safety, security and prosperity of the Saudi Citizens and Saudi expats which normally access the public areas for their entertainment and good time pass.

The basic motive aims in making the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a non-oil revenue dependent economic country. Keeping in view the said goal, the Kingdom is investing more in the advancement, tourism and entertainment activities which are helpful in lifting the economy very well.

The cafes and restaurants will have to pay SR. 100,000 yearly on selling tobacco products

The Cabinet has recently approved a new licensing regulation whereby the cafes and restaurants in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will have to pay up to SR.100,000 ($26,675) a year to sell tobacco products inside and outside their premises. Read more: SR.5,000 Fine for public decorum violators starting from May 25, 2019

Saudi Arabia is committed to reduce the smoking rate from 12.7% to 5%

Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries who confirmed the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, an ambitious plan to reduce smoking rates from 12.7% to 5% by 2030.

The taxes on cigarettes were doubled in 2017 leading to 213% increase

The Health Ministry has taken various steps to lower down the smoking through awareness campaigns and cessation clinics. Taxes on cigarettes doubled in 2017, leading to a 213% increased in smokers seeking help to kick the habit in the months that followed.

According to one of the Saudi restaurant owner who actually supported the cabinet decision, although he said customers would be affected the most as far as the required cost is concerned.

The prices of Hookahs (Sheesha) will definitely rise and probably not affordable for many

Every restaurant and cafe manager should be licensed to provide this service. The only people who will be affected by this decision are the customers. All outlets will raise the price of Hookahs (Sheesha). The actual people who would be paying for it to reach SR.100,000 are the customers and not the cafes. Yes, there will be people who cannot afford to pay the new prices and they may have to cut down on their hookah consumption.

Professor Dr. Sean Foley

A writer of the book on smoking claims the new move is a part of Kingdom Vision 2030 to depend on non-oil revenue. Associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University Dr. Sean Foley, who is writing a book on smoking in Saudi Arabia and the wider Muslim world, said the new law was part of the Kingdom’s attempts to address a serious health crisis while also meeting a goal of the Vision 2030 reform plan to move away from non-oil revenues.

“While raising cigarette taxes is a proven strategy for reducing smoking, the new SR.100,000 annual fee for Saudi restaurants to permit patrons to smoke may be even more important,” he told Arab News. Many restaurants may not be able to afford to pay for such an expensive permit, so there is likely to be less smoking in restaurants.

That would mean there will be fewer people exposed to second-hand smoke in restaurants, itself a serious problem, and existing smokers would have a powerful new incentive to quit. Studies have consistently shown that creating smoke-free areas is one of the most powerful tools to motivate and help existing tobacco users to quit while preventing new smokers from picking up the habit.

The number of smokers are expected to increase from 6 to 10 million in the coming years

The analyst says that based on the existing number of smokers, the number of smokers in Saudi Arabia is expected to rise from six million to 10 million in the coming years.

Probably vaping will increase and hookahs consumption will go down

The real danger is not the rise in black-market activity but that Saudi citizens and the Saudi expats will continue to switch in large numbers to a product that is currently legal to use — Vaping.

While purchasing any of the products associated with vaping is illegal in the Kingdom, it is legal to VAPE in public and many Saudis buy VAPE juice and VAPE modules online.”

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Source: Arab News

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