The Iraqi parliament on Thursday approved an anti-smoking law that stipulates a roughly $8.50 fine for smoking in public, in a country where such smoking is a fixture.
"The law aims to protect citizens from the danger of tobacco and reduce the number of smokers by taking measures to combat this plague," the law reads.
Smoking in government offices, schools, universities, hospitals, airports, offices, theatres, gathering places, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, markets and petrol stations will now be banned.
The law is to take effect 90 days after it is published in the official gazette.
One of its sponsors, health committee member Haidar al-Shamari, said in his remarks the law is based on Article 33 of the constitution, which says that "every individual has the right to live in safe environmental conditions."
But one MP thought the law was not a priority, saying "it would be better to provide improved public services instead of punishing smokers."
According to study carried out in 2000 by the Union for International Cancer Cancer Control, a Geneva-based non-governmental organisation founded in 2000, 40 percent of Iraqi males over age 16 were smokers.