Dubai: The final stages of the Federal anti-smoking draft law is being worked out to make smoking more expensive in the UAE where cigarettes are the cheapest compared to prices in other countries in the region.
Dr Hanif Hassan, the Minister of Health, yesterday met with members of the anti-tobacco executive bylaw committee to review draft regulations that will also make it mandatory that graphic images and warnings be printed on cigarette packets.
The UAE has taken stringent steps to curb smoking, by banning smoking in public places like malls, universities and government offices, but the low price of cigarettes is still driving many young adults to smoke.
A price of a packet of cigarettes can be as low as Dh5. The Gulf Arab States have banned advertising of cigarettes in the media and has made it a punishable crime to sell cigarettes to minors.
The UAE has also banned shisha shops operating in residential areas and the draft bylaws are being worked out to move such shops away from residential buildings.
Health officials are worried over the large number of people dying due to smoking-related diseases and the huge burden on the health care system.
A release from the Ministry said that the meeting discussed the deadline set for tobacco farmers in the country to find alternative crops and also to owners of factories who manufacture tobacco products.