UAE | Health

New fine for smoking with children in your car

Shops near schools also banned from selling tobacco

  • By Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 17:58 January 20, 2014
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf news archives
  • Motorists who smoke in a car with a child inside will be fined Dh500, as the anti-tobacco federal law goes into effect Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi: Motorists who smoke in a car with a child inside will be fined Dh500, as the anti-tobacco federal law goes into effect on Tuesday.

The law also bans shops located near schools from selling tobacco.

“This law intends to make it difficult for smokers to light up. It also ensures that tobacco products cannot be advertised on any kind of media, including radio and television networks,” Dr Widad Al Maidour, head of tobacco control at the Ministry of Health, told Gulf News.

The new laws makes it difficult for smokers to light up in closed public places across the UAE, including malls and restaurants.

The doctor said the laws need to be widened to stop people smoking near shopping malls. “Municipalities need to ensure that smokers light up at least 25 metres from the entrance to protect non-smokers.

“In essence, people who find others smoking in public places should be able to complain to authorities about this harmful practice. The implementation of these standards, however, depends on regulatory authorities. For example, the traffic police should apprehend people found smoking in cars if they are with a child who is 12 years or younger,” she said.

In order to ensure that residents’ complaints are heard, Dr Widad hopes to establish a toll-free number where people can call in and report establishments that flout the rules.

Doctors also praised the new legislation, saying that it would protect people from passive smoking.

“The biggest danger when adults smoke with children around are the toxins they could inhale. Because their lungs are weaker, they are very sensitive to harmful compounds like carbon monoxide, and this is why the new law is very helpful,” said Dr Shamil Wanigaratne, consultant clinical psychologist at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Abu Dhabi.

“Most importantly, the new regulation is a message to people that smoking is not acceptable. It makes the habit unfashionable. And such regulations have had a dramatic and unpredicted effect in the West; people thought they would not cut back on smoking but they have,” the doctor said.

Dr Sami Man Ahmad, community specialist and registrar at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said there is overwhelming evidence that smoking causes various cancers.

To make the health risks of smoking more evident, a proposal has also been forwarded to the GCC Ministry of Health Council to make the warning images on cigarette packs more graphic. Doctors said raising the cost of cigarettes is a good idea as teens will think twice about smoking. Second-hand smoke makes children more prone to infections and it affects unborn babies, said Dr Hanan Obaid, head of community health at the DHA.

Comments (19)

  1. Added 18:18 January 21, 2014

    I totally agree with this new Law from the Government! But why it is still a normal procedure to keep the Kids in front seats on the lap, playing and jumping around in the back of the Car? Kids are not in function as human airbags. Please protect your Kids. God gave us the children, dont destroy their lifes.

    Regina K., Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:05 January 21, 2014

    Motorists who smoke in a car with a child inside will be fined Dh500; the question is why only with a child inside and why not without a child also, because smokers when alone or with their smoking buddies will still throw out of the car their end lit up cigarette buds, which is still dangerous for the side of rear drivers.

    Bryan, DXB, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:22 January 21, 2014

    Why should cigarettes not be sold to 12 years and younger?? Is it appropriate for 13 and above to smoke? Nobody seems to be paying attention to that !!

    Krystal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 14:22 January 21, 2014

    That's great. Now, what about child car seats??

    MAQ, AD, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 12:25 January 21, 2014

    It is a very good step to ban smoking in cars with children. In my opinion the same should be applied for smoking at home in place where children are present.

    Peter Maas, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 12:06 January 21, 2014

    Other day i took my 23 mths old son to a park in dubai. I found few guys openly smoking with kids around playing. These guys were seated on a bench and smoking where people were walking with their infants in stroller. I would really request if smoking can be strictly prohibited in parks play area meant for kids and not for the smokers to release harmful chemicals.

    Lopa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:01 January 21, 2014

    Smoking in the car really is dangerous - it's so unfair to small children in the back who are forced to inhale the smoke. And I look forward to not having plumes of orange ash spraying across my windscreen on the road because the lovely person infront of me has casually tossed the spent cigarette end from the window. I have to be honest, I do enjoy the occasional smoke myself, but I am very mindful of others and ensure that I keep my habit strictly to myself.

    Sarah Louise, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 11:55 January 21, 2014

    I commend the authorities on this new initiative, however i serioulsy doubt people who smoke will re-consider the fact that not only them, but their kids are being fed potent mixtures of dangerous chemicals that will impair their growth and cause chronic life threatning diseases. We do see huge billboards advertising every commercial item you can think of on every road and highway, why cant we have a few highlighting the dangers of tobacco, junk food,and focus on well-being for a change.

    Gregory Gomes, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 11:42 January 21, 2014

    The law should also look into those who smoke into apartments lifts. This people (smokers) make life unbearable to others who use the same.

    Bader. A, Abudhabi, Yemen

  10. Added 11:39 January 21, 2014

    Very good initiative by the goverment.

    Rony, Al Ain, India

  11. View more comments

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