A proposed law change many mean smokers will only be able to smoke in private homes and buildings soon…

Do you think too many people smoke in the emirates? Well a government organisation here has just proposed a complete blanket ban on smoking in public spaces by the end of 2016.

As it stands, smokers are prohibited from smoking in shopping malls, on public transport, in government offices, restaurants, cafeterias, and vehicles, while shisha smoking is banned in public parks, gardens and beaches.

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The new ban would mean the removal of designated smoking areas in malls, restaurants, workplaces and other public areas, and would mean smokers would only able to smoke in private buildings and their homes.

The current penalty for smoking in non-designated areas, or smoking in a car containing children under the age of 12 is Dhs500. So if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy essence of Marlboro Gold over your pad thai dinner, you may be in luck.

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As part of a mobile smoking cessation clinic to mark World No Tobacco Day, Dr Wedad Al Maidour, head of the Tobacco Control Programme at the Ministry of Health and Prevention spoke about how the UAE, as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) remained in a ‘red zone’ with regards to taxation of tobacco products and prevention of smoking in public spaces.

Al Maidour continued by mentioning how they [WHO FCTC] are pushing the UAE to change the law from having designated smoking areas to having all public spaces as 100 per cent smoke-free zones.

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In order to remove the UAE from the WHO FCTC’s ‘red zone’, smoking in designated public areas and restaurants would need to be stopped completely.

The plan is to be proposed to the Prime Minister’s Office this year.

During last year’s No Tobacco Day, Al Maidour mentioned how the UAE plans to push for plain packaging for tobacco products in 2016, which requires the removal of all branding including colours, imagery corporate logos and trademarks.

The gory pictures you see on the front of the packets would be increased in size from the current 50 per cent packet coverage to 70 per cent, and manufacturers would only be able to print the brand name in a mandated size, font and place on the pack.

– Do you think banning smoking in public places is a good idea? 

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