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

  • Supermarkets in Dubai displayed signs announcing that tobacco would not be sold as Dubai Municipality marked ‘Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
  • An empty cigarette rack in a store at a petrol pump in Dubai on World No Tobacco Day on Tuesday.Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
  • An employee of a cafe prepares shisha for a guest despite Dubai Municipality’s ban on the sale of tobacco on tImage Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

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.



Latest Comment

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

1 June 2011 19:33jump to comments