Addis Ababa to ban smoking in public places

Smoking ban to take effect in Addis Ababa in March.

A ban on smoking in public places in Addis Ababa is expected to take effect in March, putting into legislation a tobacco control bill that was approved by Ethiopia's parliament in 2014.

The law makes smoking illegal in public areas such as hospitals, schools, bars, restaurants, sports venues and places of worship.

The move will make Addis Ababa the second Ethiopian city to enforce the tobacco law after Mekelle, the capital of the country’s northern Tigray region, signed the law into effect in January 2015.

Individuals caught breaking the new law will face fines of $50 while owners of bars and other recreational institutions caught in violation of the legislation will be fined $150.

Public offices, institutions and social venues are forbidden from advertising or promoting tobacco products, while shops caught selling loose cigarettes, or less than a full packet, will be fined $119.

Although Ethiopia has one of the world's lowest smoking rates, it still has an estimated 2.5 million smokers out of a population of some 94 million.