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Thu 14 Jan 2010 07:34 AM

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Cost of cigarettes could double to AED14 - official

UAE's tobacco control team chief says further increases could be in pipeline later.

Cost of cigarettes could double to AED14 - official
PAYING PRICE: The cost of a packet of cigarettes could double as part of the UAEs new smoking campaign. (Getty Images)

The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes could double as part of the UAE's campaign to help smokers quit, it was reported on Thursday.

A packet could rise to about AED14, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said, with further increases imposed in the future.

The move is one of a number of anti-smoking restrictions being considered as part of a new law that came into effect on Wednesday, UAE daily The National reported.

The new regulations will ban smoking in some public and private locations, halt tobacco advertising and require more detailed warnings on cigarette packets.

Dr Wedad al Maidour, the head of the MoH tobacco control team, told the paper: “We would like to increase the cost, but this is not possible through increases in the import tax. We can, however, raise the cost through increases in different taxes.

“In the first stage we would aim to double the price of a packet of cigarettes. We would also increase the price regularly, maybe every five years.”

The new law, which will forbid smoking on public transport or in enclosed public spaces, will be enforced by police and municipal inspectors.

Cafes and restaurants located in residential areas will be given two years to relocate or implement the ban.

People who break the law will face fines of up to Dh1 million (US$272,000) and jail sentences of more than two years.

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Sandpiper 10 years ago

This is excellent news, as well as the deterrent effect on this nasty and illogical habit, this would be an effective revenue raising opportunity for the Emirates.

iPaw 10 years ago

Smoking reduces weight - One lung at a time :) Very good decision, i hate passive smoking !!

dphil 10 years ago

I hope this initiative will finally help me quit this habit !!!

Dan 10 years ago

Here it comes, as some predicted. It was all an excuse to increase revenue. Now that we are forcing people to good health, let’s open the flood gates and go on with other areas. Sweets, fast food, fats, drinking alcohol, heavy 4X4 cars and so on. It amazes me that people are so fast to ban others choices as soon as they find it disturbing to them and without any consideration. Guess what, next time it’s your turn. Some came to UAE to skip the big brother mentality of US and Europe. Unfortunately a few supporting that mentality also got here and been trying to change UAE’s lifestyle to a big brother mentality. Can’t you guys go back if you liked it so much? We came here because of freedom of choice. Shisha is a part of Middle East culture and soon they’re going to ban it too altogether. Keep banning choices till we all sit in our homes with no rights because it disturbs somebody.

Saveen 10 years ago

A good move. Its two in one blow. This step will surely put some pressure on smokers to reduce tobacco consumption. Another advantage is that it generates revenue for the government. I appreciate the intention of this cause.

Jon 10 years ago

A few years ago I was in a pub smoking a fag and reading the Evening Standard. There was a cartoon of a couple of puzzled aliens from the future who had landed on earth, the human race was extinct. They had dug up a time capsule and inside found a packet of smokes with a warning on it "Cigarettes Kill". Caption was "I thought the human race was supposed to have been intelligent" I stubbed out the last of over 20 years of the habit.

BRANDO 10 years ago

Good points Dan, they should look at Britain as an example of WHY NOT to raise prices. In UK raising the prices has effectively created a multi million pound tobacco smuggling industry that funds criminals like the Mafia. This is an old article but its no better today, it may be far worse. "Customs officers believe Britain has become the biggest market in Europe for tobacco smuggling backed by organised crime rings. As many as a third of the cigarettes smoked in the country are imported illegally. Officials believe groups such the Italian Mafia are behind the smuggling rings, which are costing the UK Government about £2.5bn a year in lost revenue. " Gun running Anti-Mafia prosecutor Michele Emiliano told the BBC that profits from tobacco smuggling is spent on funding other criminal activities. "I'm referring to gun running through Italy to other places in Europe," he said. "I'm also referring to drug smuggling through our ports for distribution across the continent and I'm also referring to illegal immigrants." ---------------------- That does'nt sound like a very healthy way to go. Personally I'd rather have smoke and cigarette butts on the streets than more guns, prostitutes and illegal immigrants ! Full article > http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1169049.stm

The Pundit 10 years ago

What's that you say? Why that's the other shoe dropping. No, not the "they are only doing this to raise revenues" show (that one's been lost 'cause it was dropped so much!) and no, not the "they are taking away our freedom of choice" shoe (since when did you have true freedom of choice in this region?). This is the "GULP, I guess I have to start paying for the privilege of smoking" shoe. In all the civilized world the cost of smoking is sky high, mainly due to the taxes that are imposed by the government. This is for three reasons. 1. It is meant as a deterrent 2. It is meant as a way to be able to afford the prolonged healthcare that smokers require 3. It is meant as a way to pay for anti-smoking ads and cessation programs The price of cigarettes is so cheap in the UAE that I know of one individual who buys suitcase loads and take them back to Europe every time he comes out to visit his parents. This will not only help curb that but will also help curb underage smoking, passive inhalation, and countless other ills associated with smoking. @Dan - Smoking was part of the European and American culture also for ages and yet the acceptance of smoking regulations has not caused any major problems. This is a good thing...for everybody.

Expat 10 years ago

Even no smokers have the right to breathe fresh air.. talking about rights.. all smokers disturb one person or another with this filthy habit.. so pls stub it out or pay more for damaging others health.. choice is urs.. some comments r really irritating.. like it is the end of the world... in another article i read abt low incoem ppl not able to afford medical care in UAE.. i think a good lot of these low income ppl r smokers.. so this will again help them remain more healthy.. atleast they will b spared of smoking related illness... grow up smokers... if u want u will still pay high price & puff away ur hard earned dirhams... so leave it at tat...

Paolo C 10 years ago

It was predictable. Increase prices and Gouvernment revenue. Also predictable will be the increase in gasoline prices this year. Far more unhealthier is to work at a gas station and breathe in the heat the fumes of gasoline. So, lets raise prices, for the sake of the attendants and self service clients!