Saudi Arabia became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on August 7, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
The law prohibits smoking in some indoor workplaces and public places including government, education, health, and cultural facilities and prohibits smoking in all means of public transport. Smoking is allowed in designated smoking rooms in bars, nightclubs, stadiums, casinos, and shops.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
The law prohibits most advertising and promotion of tobacco but permits internet tobacco sales. Although financial or other sponsorship by the tobacco industry is not prohibited, publicity of the sponsorship of events is prohibited.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
Tobacco products must carry a combined text and picture warning that occupies no less than 50 percent of the front and back of the package. The law does not contain specific rotation requirements, instead stating that warnings are to be updated “as required by the public interest.” Misleading packaging and labeling, including terms such as “light” and “low tar,” is prohibited. Plain packaging will be required at the manufacturer level beginning August 23, 2019. Products imported prior to that date may continue to be distributed until January 1, 2020.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
The Royal Decree No. 56, Anti-Smoking Law is the primary legislation governing smoke free places; advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and packaging and labeling. The regulation titled the Circular to Municipalities on Controls on Marketing and Promotion of Tobacco Products was issued in order to explicitly prohibit tobacco advertising at the point of sale. The Executive Regulations were issued in 2017 under the Anti-Smoking Law and contain detailed requirements governing smoke free places; advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and packaging and labeling. Decision of the Minister of Health No. 1853515 contains the amended Executive Regulation of the Tobacco Control Law.
The GSO (GCC Standardization Organization) Technical Regulation 246/2011 on Labeling of Tobacco Product Packages regulates tobacco product packaging and labeling throughout the Gulf Region. The Executive Regulations of the Anti-Smoking Law adopted the Gulf Technical Regulation 246/2011 on Labeling of Tobacco Product Packages and makes it binding in Saudi Arabia. In 2018, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) issued SFDA.FD 60:2018 – the Standard on Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products, which will require the plain packaging of tobacco products once fully in force.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff. No in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts reviewed our analysis.
Policy Fact Sheets
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