Dubai: As many as 420 shops in Dubai have decided not to sell tobacco products on Friday to mark World No Tobacco Day.
The campaign is aimed at educating the public about the harmful effects of smoking and the risk of diseases it entails.
Reda Salman, director of the Public Health and Safety Department at Dubai Municipality, endorsed the initiative. “The municipality admires the steps taken by Al Manama Group, which has stopped selling tobacco in all its outlets since 2012, and hope that other companies will follow and make it a trend, so that we can have a Dubai without tobacco,” he said.
The official also called on the public to participate in the initiative by quitting smoking.
A total of 34 groups of companies had confirmed support for the initiative, agreeing to completely stop the sale of all types of tobacco products in their 420 outlets throughout the emirate from Thursday midnight until Friday midnight.
The businesses are supporting the drive in partnership with Dubai Municipality. The participants this year include Emirates, Enoc and Eppco petrol stations, Hyper Panda, Al Safeer, News Center, Kadoli, Spinney’s, Waitrose, Carrefour, Zoom, Jian, Choithram, Lulu, Maya, Family, West Zone, J-Mart, Fresh Plus, Talal, Lifco, KM Trading, Baqer Mohebi, Shaklan, Sunrise, Galaxy, Wow Pinoy, Robison, and Masco, in addition to five hypermarkets in Hatta.
World No Tobacco Day, observed on May 31 each year, aims to draw global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to its negative health effects, which currently lead to 5.4 million deaths worldwide annually.
The member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) first commemorated World No Tobacco Day in 1987 and, every year since, the occasion has been marked by enthusiasm and resistance across the globe from governments, public health organisations, smokers, tobacco growers, and the tobacco industry.
The UAE joined the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on June 24, 2003 and ratified it on November 7, 2005.
Dubai Municipality has also organised a number of activities to mark World No Tobacco Day at various shopping centres and public places, and its staff will distribute awareness pamphlets on how to quit smoking.