UAE | Health

Fines for those who smoke in cars with children present

Law enforcers need not wait for by-laws, official

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 17:07 October 16, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Thomson George/Gulf News Reader
  • Concerned parents spoke to Gulf News about the unhealthy practice of smoking inside cars on UAE roads.

Dubai: UAE residents who smoke in their cars with children under the age of 12 present can be fined by police as per the anti-smoking law of 2009 — even though its bylaw is yet to be approved by the cabinet, a senior official at the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

“When the Federal Law on Tobacco Control was issued, this clause was very clear. Police and law enforcers have the right to stop you if you violate it — just like when they find you using your mobile phone or not wearing a seat belt when driving,” Dr Wedad Al Maidour, Head of the National Tobacco Control Programme at MOH, told Gulf News.

The Federal Law on Tobacco Control No 15 was signed into law in 2009 but its by-law, or implementing regulations, are yet to be approved by the cabinet.

Dr Wedad said they were hoping the cabinet would pass the by-law by the end of the year.

Anyone caught violating this provision will be fined Dh500 for the first and second offence, and Dh1,000 for the third offence.

While police have every power to enforce this, Dr Wedad said she believes nobody has done so so far.

Concerned parents spoke to Gulf News about the unhealthy practice of smoking inside cars on UAE roads.

Shareen Batcha, 40, said: “I see it twice in a week every time I drive to work from Al Quoz to Al Nahda. I’ve been driving for the past eight years and I have been seeing this happening for quite a long time. Near the floating bridge, I always see parents, mostly guys, smoking in their cars even when there are schoolchildren onboard.”

“I cannot take the sight of people smoking in cars with kids inside as we all know it’s harmful for them. I used to be a smoker but I quit ten years back. As parents, we should be a role models to our kids,” he added.

Indian expatriate Rajesh Sherma shared Batcha’s sentiment. “It’s absolutely a criminal offence. It’s not that they don’t know as we all know the dangers of passive smoking.”

Sherma said for every ten days that he’s on the road, he sees at least one person smoking inside a car with children. Most of these smokers are men, he added.

The smaller space of the car makes the ill effects of smoking more severe for children as they are more vulnerable to respiratory infections, a doctor said.

“When someone smokes inside a car and a child is present, the child becomes a very significant passive smoker. Various studies have shown that passive smoking to some extent is equal to active smoking. So the child being inside the car would seem that he himself is smoking,” Dr Sreekumar Sreedharan, specialist physician at the Aster Clinic, told Gulf News.

“Passive smoking is known to cause recurrent infections in children. Every child is prone to many infections as their immune systems are not fully developed at the early stage of life,” he added.

Opening the window does not solve the problem as a portion of the smoke and other air pollutants still circulate within the enclosed space, Dr Sreedharan said. Smokers should also be aware of the effects of third-hand smoking where smoke particles stick to the car interiors and keep producing toxic chemicals for days which have carcinogenic effects.

Comments (19)

  1. Added 15:56 October 17, 2012

    Congratulations to the UAE authorities - Please arrange to stop smoking completely while driving.

    Tamim, Abu DHabi, India

  2. Added 15:07 October 17, 2012

    This is a good step. Now can we please take away driving licenses from people who drive with their children on their lap or standing between the two front seats? Or the ones who let their children stand out of the sunroof? And notice that almost nobody uses a child seat even for kids less than 2 years old? That would be a great step!

    Hisham, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 12:39 October 17, 2012

    Excellent decision , we all as non smokers are being affected by smokers. Though the law in stipulates that Smoking is prohibited in public places such as parks, malls still i could see many people smoking recklessly in open are & not bothering others. The most, untold agony is , in many office superiors are smoking without concern about subordinate staffs health. We can't even speak about that , if we ask, our job will be at stake. Hope this also will be taken in to consideration. Or the the superiors / Managers can enjoy their smoking within the designated place where it will not affect non smokers. Atleast this is my humble request to all the people who smokes in offices, PLS DON'T MAKE US INHALE YOUR TOXIC SMOKES WHICH AFFECTS OUR HEALTH & MENTAL.

    Steev, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:38 October 17, 2012

    It is good that the govt. has introduced this rule. We a group of students have found a website and also a facebook page and also submitted a research project based on the harmful effects of smoking.

    George, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 12:22 October 17, 2012

    pls do ban smoking in apartments too. these incorrigible people smoke in the toilets even if they are aware that the smoke reaches the toilets above their apartments through the false ceilings. repeated requests dont effect them in the least & the landlords dont object for fear of losing the tenant. i humbly BEG the authorities in sharjah to warn these irresponsible smokers in al nahada sharjah. please, please do help.

    john verghese, sharjah al nahada, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 12:16 October 17, 2012

    The heading should have been " Fine for smoking inside the car while driving" People take it granted if they smoke without child. Also the smokers throw cigaette butts on the road after enjoying the full length of cigarettes and they spray ashes on other cars. If it hits the fuel tank, then it would be a disaster. These guys should be banned from driving and license should be revoked. I get irritated when I see drivers smoking.

    masood, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 11:55 October 17, 2012

    I missed being burnt as one of the car passenger threw the remainning cigaette as a signal changed. it fell before my shoes instead of my dress. Sure they should be charged and get warned.

    Mary, Abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 11:37 October 17, 2012

    Very good move! NEXT SHOULD BE, Smoking and throwing cigar butts on streets please.

    DonyPo, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 11:36 October 17, 2012

    A brilliant idea. I agree with anonymous of Sharjah, i myself am a helpless victim of second hand smoke in my office too. Hope this will be taken care of as well.

    Anonymous, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 11:15 October 17, 2012

    Yes, the fine must be doubled and there should be a no smoking rules inside the office.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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