May 25, 2010 - Senior UAE (United Arab Emirates) health officials have called for a total smoking ban in all public places even beaches. In another step towards making the UAE a tobacco smoke-free nation, officials are looking at banning smoking in public places such as beaches, a health ministry official said.
A draft of the proposed by-laws of the Federal National Tobacco Law should be ready by the end of this month. On January 6, 2010 President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued UAE the federal anti-tobacco law...
The proposed by-laws of the Federal National Tobacco Law include a clause prohibiting any indoor public places from creating designated smoking rooms. Earlier drafts of the law allowed specific establishments to create a special area for smokers within no-smoking buildings. Senior health officials warned that the law will be ineffective unless smoking is banned in these areas.
It is likely that smokers will be forced to move at least 25ft away from the building entrance to avoid smoke “blowing in the door”, Dr Wedad al Maidoor added.
The law also bans young people below the age of 18 from buying cigarettes and people smoking in cars where there are children younger than 12.
The government was also considering putting a stop to tobacco being grown. Tobacco farmers would be given time to change their crop and the government would look at compensating them, said Ministry of Health head of the tobacco control committee Dr Wedad Al Maidour. "There are a few tobacco farmers in Al Ain and Hatta," Dr Wedad al Maidoor, told Gulf News.
Dr Salim Adib, the head of public health and safety at the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, said the new anti-smoking law, set to be in place by the end of the year, did not go far enough. “We want to prevent the use of tobacco products in all public venues in the country. We want to fight this,” he told the National. “I don’t think we should accept anything less than what is happening in Western Europe.”
This public-space ban will not apply to shisha cafes, but they will be subject to stricter regulations, Dr Wedad al Maidoor, said. “They must not be in residential areas. They have two years to move. There will be other specifications, such as not allowing children inside, but these will be worked out in the by-law.” Shisha cafes will also have to adopt more abbreviated opening times and post warnings on shisha pipes.
The law will also put an end to all forms of tobacco advertising.
Dr Wedad al Maidoor, the head of the Ministry of Health’s National Tobacco Control Committee, indicated the right balance is needed to be struck to prevent harm to businesses and tourism.
If the by-laws do not meet with opposition, they could be in place by the end of the year, the head of the National Tobacco Control Committee said.
References: UAE health officials urge total smoking ban by Elsa Baxter, Arabian.business.com, 5/25/2010; Smoking may be banned on beaches in UAE The government was also considering putting a stop to tobacco being grown.., By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter, Gulfnews.com, 5/25/2010; Tough no-smoking law on its way, Mitya Underwood (
email@example.com), The National, 5/25/2010.
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