Paying A Smoking Ticket

In today’s Jordan Times:

AMMAN (Petra) — The Public Security Department (PSD) announced on Tuesday that PSD environment and traffic officers issued a total of 1,409 tickets for smoking while driving and in public places where smoking is banned, the first quarter of 2007. Last year, 6,645 tickets were issued for these violations, while in 2005, the number was 714. According to environmental police unit director, Colonel Abdullah Abdullat, during the past eight months, the unit issued 2,546 tickets for violations committed in public parks, roads, factories and forests. Abdullat added that environmental laws and regulations seek to ban smoking in these areas to reduce smoking, avoid its negative impacts on citizens and prevent traffic accidents and fires.

First of all, I’m positive that between my friends and I (which definitely total less than the number of enviro-cops) we could issue over 3,000 tickets in a single week let alone eight months!

Second of all, why does the government think that the only way to solve a public problem is to fine people. If we’ve learned anything from the Jordanian spirit it’s that if you fine us we will be more inclined to do it.

No campaigns, no education, no raising awareness…

None of this is related to a consistent policy. When money needs to be raised or a command is given from the powers-that-be, suddenly all these officers go on a ticket-jihad to fill their monthly quota. Efficiency in these institutions, including the environmental police, is based on that simple mantra: we increase efficiency by increasing the quota, because after all, the two must be directly related.


One traffic accident happens every 5 minutes.

One person dies in a traffic accident every 10 hours.

One person under the age of 18 dies in a traffic accident every 35 hours.

One person is injured every 29 minutes.

I’m not so sure that just fining people has worked so well.


  • Nas, I’m glad to see attempted reform in this area, as well as other areas, but I agree that bludgeoning the public over the head without a proper educational and awareness campaign may be a bit harsh.

  • The ONLY answer is a fine and a big one at that for infringements – especially driving with a mobile phone and not wearing seat belts.

    If you had to pay JD 100 if you were caught using a mobile whilst driving I guarantee you would not do it again, unless you are a millionaire!!

    But do wish the environment police would go to a few police stations and fine their own people!! T

  • Fines don’t work when they are given arbitrarily and it seems unfair, to fill a quota as you say.

    Education tho, really? Hasn’t the danger of smoking been beaten into people? I don’t think there is anyone in the kingdom who doesn’t know smoking is bad for the smokers and those around them. Signs are clear, people have just learned the rules don’t matter.

    Like T, I say fine (EARLY and OFTEN) what matters first, like the traffic violators who endanger people’s lives like mobile users weaving around at 120kph. When people know rules DO matter, they’ll listen. THEN fine smokers and litterers.

    I just think there is more grant money coming from enviro-cops who care more about clean air and happy dogs than from policies that protect people from then own dangerous behaviour.

  • forget fines for smoking.. they need to give fines to people who still place thier children in the front seat of their car on their laps.. that is an accident waiting to happen.. it really bothers me to see so many mothers place their children on their laps… they also need to fine people for littering.. its just ridiculous

  • Unfortunatly in a consumer market, the only way many people learn a true lesson is if they get fined heavily and repeatedly for something. But it has to be maintained, what usually happens is fines are given out as if it is a seasonal fashion statement. Arabs are really good at bending the rules and negotaiting fines, so enforcent is key. As far as education, well if the figures that Nas pointed out don’t wake up the people then what will? Maybe start airing horrific images of accidents with dismembered people, lungs cancer patients etc…, maybe then people will realise what the figures are all about.

  • I work in a smoke infested area and smokers seem to have some sort of drug in their cigarettes, that the more you seem upset by their smoke, the more bent they are on smoking. I do not know if fines are the answer,but if they are, I agree with Ryan,they should be maintained and no wasta involved. I also know that even if you as a parent smoke, you should not look stupid happy when one of your little children tries to imitate you. It is not funny, it is pathetic.

  • I have worked in environmental education and awareness for ages any the conclusion I got is the big need for lefislation and fines. The stick and carrot should work together. It is working in Europe well and after decades of fines the behaviours have changed. The only concern is that the fines should be systematic. I cannot see the wisdom of fining a driver for smoking unless it is a potential accident threat, but changing lanes and using mobiles is much worse.

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