Dubai A top official of the Ministry of Health has directed the media to immediately halt the indirect advertising of tobacco products by showing smoking scenes in films, cartoons and other broadcast content.
Dr Wedad Al Maidour, Head of the National Tobacco Control Programme under the Ministry of Health, told XPRESS in the run-up to World No Tobacco Day that the UAE has successfully checked direct advertising of tobacco products but the ban on indirect advertising still needs reinforcing.
“There is evidence to show that indirect advertising encourages smoking. We need to reinforce the ban on indirect advertising. Scenes in films, cartoons, TV serials and other media content that show smoking must be completely banned,” said Dr Wedad.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) message to governments on this year’s World No Tobacco Day marked on May 31 is to implement a comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in keeping with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. However, only 19 countries, comprising six per cent of the world’s population, are said to have comprehensive bans.
According to WHO, tobacco kills nearly six million people every year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke.
Dr Wedad said the bylaw of the Federal Law on Tobacco Control (No 15 of 2009), which has been sent to the Cabinet, will hopefully come into force by the end of the year, following which the stipulations against smoking in the country will be more effective.