UAE | Health

Dubai goes smoke-free for a day as part of initiative

Price of cigarettes could double as part of new strategy to help smokers quit

  • By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter, Gulf News
  • Published: 00:00 June 1, 2011
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
  • Supermarkets in Dubai displayed signs announcing that tobacco would not be sold as Dubai Municipality marked ‘World No Smoking Day’ by stopping cigarette and tobacco sale at petrol stations and major retail stores for 24 hours.
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Dubai: It was a day without smoke in Dubai as the civic authority banned the sale of cigarettes in the emirates for 24 hours Tuesday morning.

Petrol stations and leading retail outlets put up signs saying that cigarettes would not be sold.

Emarat and Enoc petrol stations turned away customers who wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes Tuesay.

Dubai Municipality said that in support of the no smoking initiative, 63 shops, hypermarkets and supermarkets stopped selling tobacco products for a day. It said that almost all restaurants and cafes cooperated with the civic body and participated in the campaign by stopping the sale of shisha for 12 hours.

Meanwhile, Dr Hanif Hassan, Minister of Health, said yesterday that the UAE planned to build more smoking cessation clinics across the country to help people quit smoking.

He said the clinics had helped 400 smokers quit the habit in 2009 and another 400 stopped smoking last year. There are seven smoking cessation clinics across the emirates.

Cessation clinics

The minister said the UAE was the first in the region to provide such free services including in schools and universities. He was speaking at a meeting to commemorate World No Tobacco Day yesterday.

Dr Hassan said the UAE was committed to the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). "As one of the member states that have ratified this agreement, we reassure this commitment of the GCC council in fighting tobacco," he said.

The minister earlier gave tokens of appreciation to seven people who quit smoking with the smoking cessation clinics.

He said part of the government strategy to control smoking was to raise the price of cigarettes and tobacco products, but that this was being worked out with other government departments.

A senior executive in the tobacco control committee earlier said there was a move to increase the price of tobacco by 100 per cent.

The minister appealed to the public and the private sector to help in the government's efforts on tobacco control.

Federal law

Dr Wedad Al Maidour, head of the tobacco control committee, said the bylaws of the Federal Anti-Tobacco Law were passed by the Health Council Tuesday.

"That is good news, we were struggling to finalise it," she said. The Health Council is made up of heads of all the health authorities. The bylaws will now be presented to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for approval, she said.

The bylaws have been in the making for over a year now and the sticking point has been the need to increase the price of cigarettes and tobacco products as various ministries and departments were involved.

The doctor said more efforts would be made to reach children and the youth in universities and schools to educate them on the harmful effects of smoking.

Raising awareness

Dr Wedad said there was also a need to educate the various departments about the Federal Anti-Smoking law which was passed in 2009. "Many departments are unaware of the law and are not enforcing it," she said, giving an example of not fining motorists who smoke with a child inside the car.

The municipality also organised an exhibition in partnership with Dubai Medical Collage and Johnson and Johnson explaining how smoking affects different organs of the body.

Comments (13)

  1. Added 19:26 June 1, 2011

    Any initiative taken by authorities to stop smoking is most welcome. i would like to appreciate authorities for taking up such a decision in taking up in increasing the cessation clinics across the emirates. i think that spreading awareness and taking initiative like this may help to an extent. even though experts say that smoking is dangerous , still people continues. by quitting smoking it will help us to get rid of many dreadful disease.when i hear such a news it disheartants me a lot. why are we welcoming trouble in our lives?instead lets say goodbye to trouble making cigrattee. so i have a piece of advice to the smokers that take a rigid that' from today onwards i will not smoke'

    Nithinsha Najeeb, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:18 June 1, 2011

    It was a good move to start our UAE as a smoke free country. Actually the authorities can ban all selling of tobacco in uae and show to the entire world that our uae is a smoke free country.

    Appu, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:38 June 1, 2011

    I knew that Smoking is not good for the health. But the authorities should take strict measure to stop smoking in Small childern like age group 12 to 15. i belive more than 80 this age group are smokers. moreover this is not their fault their mothers and fathers also smokers than why he will not.

    FARAZ, ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 14:13 June 1, 2011

    1.Danger to your health 2. Danger to your family's health 3. Addictive 4. Noxious Smell 5. Waste of Money

    MOHAMMAD SAUD, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 14:11 June 1, 2011

    In general quitting smoking will give you a longer life by preventing dreadful diseases in your body that is caused by carbon monoxide, nicotine and other poisonous substance that smoking gives. There are many sicknesses which you can acquire from smoking, from a simple ulcer, to a severe cough or cold or worse a lung cancer. Most countries now have laws limiting the smoking area in public places. Most common places are public transportation's, restaurants, malls and airports. The world of smokers is getting smaller. Some countries that are still being lax in giving freedom to smokers are doing it because of the huge amount of tax they are generating from tobacco companies. But generally, smokers are losing a place in this world. All what is required is the will power and determination to stop once and for all even if your surrounded by many smokers.

    Mathew Litty, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 12:45 June 1, 2011

    No Smoking Day and increase in the price of cigarettes by 100% means what? Nothing much! I am a smoker who is finding it hard to quit. the most ideal thing I would want to see is ban the import of tobacco products into UAE. Harsh for us smokers but a sure way to quit. Raising the price would only dent our pockets and not our habit. what say you?

    S. Hussain, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:18 June 1, 2011

    Any initiative to help people quit smoking is welcome. There should be campaigns country over to make things strict against public smoking. Acting now will save the youth of tomorrow from addiction that's prevalent in our times

    Nizar Hamza , Dubai , United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 10:08 June 1, 2011

    Although public places such as the malls are non smoking areas by law, we cannot access them without having to walk through clouds of second hand smoke because of the designated smoking areas immediately in front of the doorways. It makes no sense if we still to have to walk with our children through a fog of 2nd hand smoke. These designated smoking areas need to be re-positioned away from the main entrances of such places.

    eva, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 10:03 June 1, 2011

    I believe its a positive move. However, I want to reiterate that tobacco is a multi-billion business worldwide. Even though proven by Health experts that smoking has adverse effects to one's health and well being, it is still legal worldwide compared to other drugs, which are equally addictive. It is very difficult to fight the addiction. banning cigarettes would not be a solution as cessation clinics might be expensive to some. I suggest more behavioral intervention programs to be offered for free to residents. afterall addiction to smoking is a behavioral issue and should be addressed with a degree of caution not to overlap against human rights of freedom of expression.

    Mark Philip, Ajman, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 09:33 June 1, 2011

    I don't want to seem to be criticizing, but one day is not enough .. most smokers would have had enough cigarettes to get them through the ban.

    Eddy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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