New UAE smoking law comes into effect on Wednesday

Cafes, restaurants in residential areas have two years to move or ban smoking.
New UAE smoking law comes into effect on Wednesday
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 13 Jan 2010 07:20 AM

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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