Twitter users have falsely claimed that new packaging on cigarettes in the kingdom show that the products are fake and substandard
Following days of social media rumours, Saudi and UAE officials have denied claims of potential harm from new tobacco products in the kingdom.
After new packaging – stemming from recently introduced regulations – was introduced, rumours swirled on social media that the products were fraudulent and not up to health standards. Some users even called for a boycott of the products.
In an interview with Saudi TV show Fealsora, Dr. Hisham Al Jadhey, the CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, said that there were no reports from officials about health problems caused by the new products, which he said are in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
Additionally, the Dubai Media Office on Monday said that there had been a ‘systematic smear campaign’ against UAE products, following rumours that a new bar code on the tobacco products showed they were manufactured in Jebel Ali Free Zone.
Saudi officials have also said that the ‘629’ code on the packaging does not indicate they come from Dubai’s Jebel Ali and noted that tobacco products are primarily imported from Turkey, Germany and Switzerland.
Many Twitter users also targeted Philip Morris International, which several weeks ago said that its cigarettes are “authentic and in line with the Saudi plain packaging regulation”.