Lebanese multimedia journalist Dalal Mawad says she was verbally assaulted by the owner of the Mar Mikhael pub, Dictateur, Thursday night after complaining that patrons were being allowed to smoke indoors, which is illegal according to Lebanese law 174.

Mawad wrote about the incident on her blog, saying Owner and Manager Hady Salhab “aggressively yelled at me, accusing me of being ‘anal.’ He said he couldn’t care less if I complained or not, that I could leave if I wasn’t happy, and said something about ‘stupid people like me’ who keep reporting violations about his bar to no avail.’ ‘Go waste your time on something else,’ he said, yelling, “I’m sick of people like you.’”

The Dictateur owner reportedly went so far as to call Mawad a “slut,” an allegation which Salhab denies, telling Beirut.com, “That’s not true… I did not assault her verbally. She exaggerated.”

Salhab also denied to Beirut.com that people were smoking indoors Thursday night. But according to the photograph below, taken by Mawad at 11:05 p.m. that same night, people were – in fact – smoking inside the bar.

The owner did release this apology on the Dictateur Facebook page late Friday.

Abdallah Jabbour, acting Executive Director of the Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) in Lebanon, says there are a number of ways people can respond to smoke ban offenders:

1. Call one of these hotline numbers to file a complaint:
-- 1735 (for the tourist police, day and night).
-- 1739 (for the Consumer Protection Directorate, during business hours).
-- 1740 (for the Ministry of Labor, if the violation happens in the workplace).

2. Take photos/videos of the violation and post it to the Lebanese law 174 Facebook Page, and someone from the citizen watch group will follow up on the complaint.

3. Talk to the manager of the establishment.

As for the last point, Jabbar admits, “I usually don’t do this because most managers can’t respond civilly to these kinds of complaints.”

It's clear that not all restaurants and bars are complying with Lebanese Law 174. Here is a list of smoke ban violators reported by everyday citizens to the Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) in Lebanon.

Beirut Bar Patron Verbally Assaulted After Complaint about Indoor Smoking
 

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