One-day ban on cigarette sales across Dubai
Smokers face a frustrating time trying to feed their habit today as the sale of cigarettes and tobacco has been banned across Dubai for 24 hours.
Hundreds of outlets, including supermarkets, filling stations and cafes have signed up to Dubai Municipality’s voluntary one-day initiative, which kicked in at midnight last night.
“The move is aimed at spreading awareness about the dangers of cigarette smoking to make people think about tobacco consumption as it kills millions of people and affects public health,” said Redha Salaman, director of public health and safety at the municipality.
Municipality officials said no tobacco day is intended to draw global attention to
tobacco use and its negative health effects, which result in 5.4 million deaths worldwide every year. Cigarette counters will reopen at midnight tonight.
However, the ban has drawn mixed reactions. One smoker told 7DAYS: “So I go and buy three or four packs and I have plenty before the 24 hours starts? Two years ago they said they would put the price up to Dhs30 a pack, the same as in countries in Europe, but they stopped talking about this because people would be too unhappy.”
Another added: “It’s a bit extreme. I’ve always believed smoking is down to personal choice.
“If they tried announcing a ban in my home country just hours before it was imposed there would be a massive outcry.”
Supermarket chain Spinneys is one of those participating in the ban. Marketing manager Colette Shannon said: “We will close cigarette counters and put up posters explaining what the Dubai authorities are trying to achieve.”
She added: “We are a community-centred supermarket and it was an obvious initiative to get behind. There was no negative reaction from customers last year. Maybe they did take their custom to another store but they did support us on it.”
Some UAE residents also welcomed the initiative. Taking to Twitter to give their support. One tweeted: “Can you also get people in #Dubai to not allow anyone to smoke for 24 hours as well, now that would be wonderful. They need to follow #Europe and STOP smoking in ALL public places.”
Another said: “We need to have a no tobacco day every week. It’s shocking when I go to cafes and see people smoking with their kids there.”
There will be 283 firms, including shops, 52 Emarat petrol stations and 85 Enoc stations, participating in the campaign.
Meanwhile, Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) has launched the ‘Abu Dhabi Says No to Tobacco’ programme. HAAD will be running a booth every weekend at eight malls around Abu Dhabi City from today until July 21.}
It will also increase the number of education courses for doctors and nurses on how to help people stop smoking.