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UAE looks to implement smoking ban

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The UAE could introduce a smoking ban by the end of 2016, reports claim. The blanket ban would target public spaces, meaning that smoking areas in offices, malls and restaurants would be removed.

The proposal was made by the National Tobacco Control Committee of the UAE, which is looking to change current Federal Tobacco Control Law in order to clear public spaces of smoke. The announcement was made by Dr Wedad Al Maidour on Tuesday, speaking at the launch of a mobile cessation clinic on World No Tobacco Day.

“They are pushing us to change the law from having designated smoking areas to 100 per cent smoke-free areas in public spaces,” Dr Al Maidour said. “According to the WHO [World Health Organisation], we fall in the red zone since we do not have the required taxation and other preventive measures in place that can make the UAE fully tobacco free.”

Many public areas in the UAE are already smoke-free, being banned in malls, public transport, cafeterias, restaurants, and in the company of children under 12. The fine for breaking these rules is currently AED500.

However, many of the areas mentioned have designated smoking zones, which the proposed changes to the law look to eliminate.

The so-called ‘blanket’ ban would mean that all public buildings and work spaces would be smoke-free, with no designated smoking areas in the likes of malls and restaurants. This means that anyone looking to light up would have to do so in their own home or a private building.

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