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Wed 13 Jan 2010 07:20 AM

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New UAE smoking law comes into effect on Wednesday

Cafes, restaurants in residential areas have two years to move or ban smoking.

The anti-tobacco law issued last week by UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan comes into effect from Wednesday, a senior Ministry of Health (MoH) official confirmed.

Cafes and restaurants located in residential neighbourhoods have two years to either move or ban smoking while for non-residential outlets, designated smoking areas will be allowed, news agency WAM reported.

Dr Mahmoud Fikri, executive director of Health Policies, MoH, said a new national anti-tobacco committee would draw members from all the authorities concerned such as the ministries of health, economy, environment, education and interior.

"The MoH's Health Policies sector will start drafting the executive regulations of the law in coordination with other stakeholders within the next few months. The regulations will be raised to the federal cabinet for consideration and issuance soon," he said.

An anti-tobacco team at the MoH, he added, would educate members of the public about the health risks associated with smoking and the new law and its provisions.

The legislation makes it illegal to grow tobacco for commercial use, import or sell tobacco products that do not have warnings on the packaging, import or sell candies and toys that look like tobacco products, publish promotional material that urge people to smoke, or advertise tobacco products.

Selling cigarettes to anyone under 18 is also illegal, as is smoking in cars carrying children under 12 while inspectors will have the power to initiate legal action that could result in fines and/or jail terms.

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Baakies 10 years ago

Will these new smokig laws be enough to convince the cafe and coffee shop managers in Marina, Kalidyha and Abu Dhabi malls to stop this filthy habit? I refuse to use these places until they stop the stench of smoking interupting my lunch/coffee.

dania 10 years ago

It doesn't make sense when you ban smoking in Marina Mall AD and leave the center cafés serving shisha and allow smoking right in the middle of the mall where people have to pass by let along all the children. I hope we will have a smoke free environment in at least closed areas.. it is really about time.

Fernando 10 years ago

Great news!!! It is about time that all countries in the ME start banning smoking. This is not only a filthy habit but a dangerous one.

LB 10 years ago

Gr8 News!! I wish they did something about ppl who now cant smoke inside the public bldgs..so they come out and smoke and smtms the number of ppl are so high standing right at the entrance of bldgs..this makes non smokers and asthmatics lk me pass through a smoke full area getting thoroughly choked! i really wish if tobacco itself cld b banned and if wishes wr horses then list it into the substance abuse!!!!!!!!!

Yahya 10 years ago

"...while for non-residential outlets, designated smoking areas will be allowed" Does this mean that smoking in restaurants and cafes will be allowed provided that they allocate "areas" for smoking ? Unless these "areas" are enclosed with heavy duty walls all around and no ventilation so that smokers can smoke themeselves to death .. then yes. However, as the current status where restaurants and cafes have dedicaated areas for smoking and non smoking .. sorry but this wont work and you might as well leave the situation as it is.

Sami 10 years ago

Its great news !!!! This will help the smokers to reduce thier smoking habits to some extent and will also benefit th passive smokers .

Gloria 10 years ago

While we're at it shall we ban the heavy industry and cars that emit pollution 100 times more dangerous than tobaco smoke which people breathe in every day - or shall we stop the use of carginogen producing chemicals in food - we eat gas ripened fruit and vegetables every day ( fruits/vegetables that we get that are out of season - and food that has been chemically enhanced to enable it to be transported) or chemicals that we use to promote rapid growth of produce to get quicker returnsd. All these are more injurious to our health but no-one says a thing. What about the filthy habit of people spitting on the sidewalks - these may have things like tuberculosis or hepatitis - but again no-one says anything Take a good look at the problem and don't just choose smokers to put the blame on for "passive smoking"

Dan 10 years ago

@ Gloria All I can say is that it’s politically correct to go after smokers since a few years. I have nothing against special places for smoking and telling inconsiderate people to behave, as we would tell of other shown inconsideration. But no, some go after smokers with a vengeance, such as Yahya, “Areas are enclosed with heavy duty walls all around and no ventilation so that smokers can smoke themselves to death” Imagine if some environmental extremist would say that about people who drive cars and would like to suffocate car drivers the same way? This kind of Talebanism is not helping to have a civilized discussion. These kinds of people realize their mistake when some of their own freedom is lost. That is the time when they start to argue for their case and find it unfair, but usually it’s late by than. But they have no trouble to cut other peoples freedom without any kind of moderation or consideration.

surfer 10 years ago

Some of what you say is true Gloria but trying to move the focus away from the distgusting smoking habit is not going to work...this article is about what we have all been waiting for and we cant wait till the ban comes in. Smokers are and should be the pariahs of the world with the filthy habit that affects everyone and is THE worst possible preventable thing you can do to your body. A recent article showed that for every 15 cigarrettes smoked their is one genetic mutation that occurs in the lungs so you and all smokers are playing russian rolluette with your lives and the daily risk of developing lung cancer...maybe smokers should see this for what it is...to protect them and other people from this toxic habit and to reduce the harm theye cannot seem to help stop them doing this to themselves with their daily nicotine fix...so take this opportunity of a New year and restrictions on smoking and GIVE UP NOW...Happy New Year :)

pelagia 10 years ago

it is so disgusting walking in the alley every morning avoiding the spit. this practice is so uncivilized!