Abu Dhabi: Motorists and passengers have been urged to uphold the new law that prohibits smoking in private vehicles in the presence of children under the age of 12, the Higher Commission of Child Protection in the Ministry of Interior said today.
Although the ban will come into effect within six months from its date of issuance, that is January 21 2014, authorities are pushing parents and caretakers to gear up for the change or face a fine of Dh100,000 to Dh1 million.
Maj Gen Nasser Likhraibani Al Nuaimi, Secretary-General of the Office of Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, said that different sectors of society must come together to ensure the safety of the country’s children.
“The habit of smoking is a personal decision as long as it does not affect the health of those surrounding you. Protecting children is a responsibility that lies on the shoulders of all members of society, especially since the Ministry of Health is supporting this cause,” he added.
The official also warned drivers that the habit of smoking occupies their mind and may divert their attention from focusing on the road, leading to traffic accidents.
Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Mohammad Al Shammari, Director of the Child Protection Centre at the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, said that when adults smoke they are presenting a negative role model to their children as many teenagers who currently smoke learn this habit from their parents.
Earlier, Gulf News reported that a study carried out in Abu Dhabi showed that 28 per cent of children aged 15 years and younger are smokers, while 30 per cent of people aged 18 and above and are smokers.
The law also mandates that large warning labels be placed on cigarette products in order not to mislead their users. The labels can currently be seen on some packets in the capital. The fine will also be doubled in case violators repeat the offence.
Tobacco products cannot be displayed near items marketed for children, or sportswear, health, food and electronic products in stores. Tobacco products are also forbidden from being sold in locations that are 100 metres away from places of worship, and 15 metres away from kindergartens, schools, universities and colleges.