Solving Jordan’s Problems On the Easy… Unemployment and Smoking Law Enforcement in One Fell Swoop

So, El 3atal and I were talking today about one of our pet peeves.  That would be smokers who ignore the laws and smoke in non-smoking areas.  Malls are a favorite place for this, absolutely.  We happened to be a Mecca Mall today.  We stopped down to get cash from the bank of ATMs.  Some shabaab and his friend were standing there chatting next to the garbage can (that has an ashtray on top of it… don’t ask me why).  He pulls out a cigarette and lights it and begins puffing.  Mind you, he’s standing immediately under the huge no smoking sign.  So, I (being me) walked over, smiled, pointed to the sign… then I pointed to the exit and said, it’s allowed outside.  It’s right there.  Mind you, the whole conversation took place in Arabic.  And I was smiling the whole time.  With a smirk and a “what a stupid lady” expression on his face… he went outside with his nasty cancer stick.

This led El 3atal and I to generate an idea that would solve Jordan’s monetary woes and cure its populace of ignoring the no smoking in public places law.  It’s actually brilliant in its simplicity.  Since people have such trouble generating the strength of character to enforce the no-smoking law, give them a significant incentive.  For every place that is covered in the no-smoking law, make the shop owner responsible.  Have a roving group of officers that have the sole job of providing on-the-spot checks.  If someone is smoking in violation of the law, fine the store owner.  I’m talking a 15JD fine per instance.  If there are 3 guys smoking inside your shop, that’s 45JDs on the spot.  If the setting is a mall, anyone in common areas generates a fine for the mall owner/management firm.  If it’s a mall employee (think cleaning crews, guards, etc.) the fine is doubled.  And these are on-the-spot fines.  No going to your friend the holder of wasta and getting them removed.  They’re paid when they’re incurred.  No money, shop closes…  Talk about simple and powerful.

Today, at Mecca Mall in their food court alone, the city could have made over 100 JDs in less than hour.  And to avoid being hit with huge fines, the malls and other places would hire employees to wander around and instantly make people put their cigarettes out or leave the establishment.  I mean, paying some young Jordanian with limited employment options 10 JDs an hour would still save them 90 JDs an hour, right?  Imagine, we’d cure youth unemployment and generate HUGE revenues for Jordan.  I think it’d be enough to pull us out of this economic slump.  And the other thing it would do… it’s send the message that we really DO care about our most defenseless citizens.  We actually care that children not be subjected to second-hand smoke.  Imagine if we showed that we really do care.  I think it would mean an awful lot.  So, that’s my idea, any thoughts?

Happy Great Jordanian Smoke-Out!


9 thoughts on “Solving Jordan’s Problems On the Easy… Unemployment and Smoking Law Enforcement in One Fell Swoop

  1. Funnily enough I sort of encountered the same experience today. I went with Jiddo to give some papers to a lady who works in n agency a who finalizes some paper work. They had a big big sign of NO SMOKING….Funnily enough I kept smelling smoke but the counter was too high where I could not see behind it while sitting on a chair waiting for my turn. As my turn came, I could see that the guy that registered the incoming mail was smoking, a young lady behind the computer was smoking and the lady I wanted to talk to could not breathe due to a heavy cold with no voice at all….. I wanted to shout at them, then I did not since I just wanted to finish a job, we have started months ago… and could not wait for my turn to come, hand in the papers and get out….This is really very similar to another experience that I faced two months ago in a governmental department… No smoking, but the guy behind the glass was smoking… Are they aloud to smoke because they are employees… or what…. Tetabean

    • TetaBean, and there is the problem. If the government won’t enforce it in its own offices, we need to fine them too! After all, each Ministry should be responsible for effectively implementing the law, right? So let’s let them pay fines to the Ministry of Health ;). After all, we’ll all be paying for the costs of those smokers. Sigh.

  2. All the suggestions you make are valid but for one problem. The enforcers are the culprits. Most of these inconsiderates do not view this as a health issue but a Western influenced issue. This is something forced upon them by the West and since these folks are Arab nationalists, they will not kowtow to Western imperialist imposed ideas, no matter what medical evidence says.

    • Joe, I had a similar thought. But, if it means your livelihood (because your fines would be doubled) then I suspect you can overcome your conspiracy theories of Western desire to keep the Jordanian man down… Funny thing is, the West LOVES the fact that people here are die-hard smokers. After all, their market in the US is drying up and their best market to make oddles of money is the third world. At any rate, with proper supervision, I really think we can overcome these difficulties.

  3. I think that your other idea about the illegally parked cars would generate a lot more revenue than going after the smokers although fining the smokers is a legitimate cause just as well. The illegally parked cars would have to pay the ticket for parking illegally plus the cost of towing and storing the car until the owner come and pick it up. Let us say $ 30 parking ticket fee plus $125 for the cost of towing, that would add up to $ 145 per illegally parked car. Now imagine how many hundreds upon hundreds of illegally parked cars you find on the streets of Amman city every day, multiply that by $ 145 a pop, the money woud be coming faster than any source Amman Municipality can think of. There are cars that not only illegally park, they double and triple park on the streets. There are cars that block cars parked infront of them or on either side and so on. I mean the illegal parking is really a huge problem in the city and no one seems to care since no one is being ticketed or towed. If and when ticketing and towing takes effect in full earnest manner the illegal parkers would start thinking twice about the fine and the cost of towing, as for now unfortunately we will continue seeing cars illegally parked all over the Amman city streets and neighborhoods.

  4. Better make it $20. I imagine most shops, even in a mall, would not be able to produce a 10 and a 5 at a moment’s notice. They would need 15 minutes to go around to their neighbors to break a twenty.
    Which opens up another topic…
    -Abu Tulip

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