Smoke-free policies in Jordan

In much of the world, diners rely on the broad availability of smoke-free dining options, even though legislation protecting the right to breathe clean air is relatively new.  In Jordan, this is not the case.   Although the national Public Health Law 47 passed in 2008 prohibits smoking in public places, its smoke-free provision is not comprehensive and it lacks a clear mechanism or staffing provision for enforcement.  As a result, visitors to most restaurants, hotel lobbies, and other public places in Jordan cannot avoid being engulfed in copious clouds of noxious smoke from cigarettes as well as the ubiquitous waterpipes, or “shisha”.

Recently, the Global Bridges team visited Jordan’s only smoke-free restaurant.  ATICO Fakhreldin Group, an upmarket 17-restaurant chain, is testing out a smoke-free policy in Bistro One restaurant, which serves a varied international menu in Amman.

22Nov2013-blog87-photo1

“ATICO Fakhreldin Group has always been aware of the dangers of smoking, firsthand or passive, and sees this initiative as a contribution to the community to guarantee a good gastronomy experience that brings out the real taste of the meal, as well as to make people aware of the dangers of tobacco use. We hope this creates a trickle-down effect to the whole hospitality sector” says Azzam Fakhreldin, COO of ATICO Fakhreldin Group.

22Nov2013-blog87-photo2

Research(1) suggests that 66% of adults in Jordan support smoke-free restaurants, so Bistro One’s smoke-free leadership should reach a responsive audience.  The Cancer Control Office at King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC), Global Bridges’ partner in the EMR, has worked to create incentives for venues to go smoke-free, successfully lobbying for the criteria for the prestigious King Abdullah II Award for Institutional Excellence to include smoke-free status.  KHCC is also a regional leader of the Global Smokefree Workplace Challenge.  But it’s clear from our visit that a great deal of work remains to be done.   The team would welcome advice from others around the world who have worked to support smoke-free public places.

In any case, the Global Bridges team thoroughly enjoyed their smoke-free meal at Bistro One!


  1. Research conducted on a convenience adult sample as part of the Strengthening National Tobacco Control Project