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Wed 6 Jan 2010 05:56 PM

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UAE imposes new law to restrict smoking

UAE president issues new legislation to impose new regulations on the sale of cigarettes.

UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday issued a new law to crack down on smokers and the sale of cigarettes in the country.

The new decree bans the import of tobacco and its by-products "unless specific standard requirements accredited in the UAE are met", news agency WAM reported.

Clear warnings must appear on the cigarette boxes and the federal law bans on all kinds of advertisements, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products.

The law also prohibits smoking on public transport and public closed places.

Under the provisions of the law, no licence will be issued to cafes or similar outlets serving any types of tobacco or its products inside residential buildings or quarters or near them.

Smoking will also be banned during vehicle driving in the company of a child under 12 years.

The law sets a series of penalties against offenders reaching in some cases up to AED1 million in addition to a jail term of not less than two years.

The law also calls for setting up a national anti-tobacco committee in a bid to create a "health environment for both UAE nationals and expatriate residents".

Health Minister, Dr Hanif Hassan, said the law aimed to "block the way before companies or individuals who are trying to seduce population, notably the young generation, into the circle of smoking".

He added that the ministry of health would conduct a massive nationwide campaign to educate members of the public about the health hazards of smoking.

"The law will spare the non-smokers the effects of passive smoking and the ensuing disturbance," he added.

The law empowers the court to confiscate seized and advertising materials and even close down the firm if found breaching the law.

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J Smith 10 years ago

I do hope that Dubai Airports Corporation take note of this and remove all smoking rooms or centres from the airport. The stench when moving from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 is just disgusting!

Elias 10 years ago

I feel the smokers should be 'educated' on how to smoke ! They do not know how to stub out their cigarettes, they finish their smoke and leave, discard or throw away the live stubs - not in the least bit concerned where it falls. 2 days ago there was a fire in the dustbin outside the Spinney's Jumeraih, because some 'un-educated' smoker threw a live butt into the dustbin before entering the store. Of course those driving and smoking do not wish to retain the stubs inside their cars, so after finishing the cigarette they flip it out of the window, not realizing where it may land or what destruction it may cause.

khalid 10 years ago

Most non smokers will agree that the agony of walking through a mall entrance/exit with dozens of men and women standing aorund smoking is one place where its pretty uncomfortable (the fumes of smoke wafting all over) when you have to walk through that....not to mention the sight of close to 50 cigarette butts stuck into the sand on the waste bins! can there please be a designated area (not necessarily at the entrance/exit) outdoors where smokers could indulge in their habit and not affect others?

harry dee 10 years ago

The biggest problem is the shisha pipe smoking, clustered around areas outside cafes. The Souk Al Bahar is a beautiful development, partly spoiled by clouds of shisha smoke from the cafes overlooking the water. The public has to walk through these areas - hardly a pleasant experience for tourists. The sickly sweet smell taints everything - why is it allowed?

Mumeen Chowdhury 10 years ago

Excellent Law. We are already great victims of passive smoking of senseless, ruthless and most careless hazardous smokers. In fact cigarette factories all over the world should be banned just as drugs are. Films/documentaries showing smoking should also be banned. We cannot emphasize more the importance of anti-smoking measures all over the world so that world is a healthier place. We even find smokers spoiling beaches and public parks/gardens where we go to get fresh natural air. So it should be banned from every place on earth.

non smoker 10 years ago

I'm not a smoker myself, but it is becoming a restriction of freedom to stop smokers from doing this or that, there are so many restrictions on smokers but we can't just judge them because they are having a bad habit in someone's point of view. the smoker and anyone else must have the choice to smoke or not and in a convenient place, our parents lived a life when smoking was even a trend and now we are dying from cancer and other deceases for more reasons rather smoking. even statisticly smoking is not the highest reason for fatals; and the list go on... there is no need for more restrictions regarding smoking there is a need to start thinking positive against smokers and provide them a working area that suites them and not harming anyone else (like Dubai airport) and start forcing the cafe's to proper ventilation and air filtering before restricting the smoking everyplace... do anyone have a statistic of how many smokers are there among us? i believe they are more than 30%... and you can see them at the entrances of the buildings and malls... so if 30% are not to be considered i don't know what wired universe we live in...

His Excellency Dr Paul 10 years ago

It's fine to talk about the rights of smokers, but your rights stop when your actions pose a risk or annoyance to others. Sadly too many smokers seem to have no clue that their habit is so offensive to most who don't smoke, and even those who do seem not to care. Feel free to smoke yourself to an early grave, but respect the rights of those who wish to look after the bodies god gave them and not poison themselves. Let's hope this law is properly enforced. At present many office buildings have no-smoking rules but these are widely flouted and ignored. The law should put the responsibility on those running establishments to ensure the law is not broken on their premises. Experience in other countries shows this is the only way to prevent certain businesses from turning a blind eye.

Paul. 10 years ago

Finally i law with some sense:-) Does that mean smoking will be banned in bars too? I hope so. I was a smoker 12 years ago, i don't hate smokers, i hate the fact there ignorant to what they are doing to there own health and the health of those that surround them. Please educate yourself on what smoking is doing to your lungs, skin and body in general, you will be amazed. It's about time there was some advice and promotion on how harmful smoking is in this part of the world. Basically your paying these companies thousands of $ to kill you slowly..... And that is a fact!!!!!

UK 10 years ago

It is good move. Smokers are welcome to ruin their health, but definitely have no right to cause damage to others health. A family in my building (husband and wife team !!) used to sit on steps of closed staircase and smoke merrily for hours. The stairs used stink of smoke for hours as there is outlet for stale air. They were quite upset when I politely requested them to smoke in their apartment. They gave up finally when I threatened to complain to the agency maintaining the building. Such high penalties will be a good deterrent for smokers who care little about others.

GR 10 years ago

Have you just time travelled in from 1958? Do you think that people really have no idea of these facts in this day and age? Your comments with their exclamation marks makes you look like you think you are imparting new and previously unknown information, STOP PRESS!! Smoking is harmful!!! Do you really think that there is a single smoker left on earth who does not know this? They do not smoke because they are ignorant of these facts but merely because they are addicted.