UAE body mulls smoking ban in public spaces

Cigarettes seen on sale in Dubai's airport. (Shutterstock)

Smoking in designated areas around malls, restaurants, workplaces and other public areas in the UAE could be banned by the end of this year, a health official said on Tuesday.

Current UAE laws see smoking banned in most public indoor areas, with the exception of many bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.

Smokers in many public places are confined to the car park, pavement or outdoor smoking area – an unattractive prospect during the country’s long, sweltering summers.

But under the new proposed amendment to the federal tobacco control law, a blanket ban in public spaces would push smokers to the confinements of private buildings or homes.

“They [the World Health Organization] are pushing us to change the law from having designated smoking areas to 100 per cent smoke-free areas in public spaces,” said Wedad al-Maidour, a health ministry official and a members of the UAE’s National Tobacco Control Committee.

The WHO deems the UAE as still in a ‘red zone’ with its low taxation of tobacco products and prevention of smoking in public areas, the local Gulf News daily reported her as saying.

But smokers may still be able to puff in peace for some time.

The blanket amendment to the Federal Tobacco Control Law still needs to be submitted, Maidour said.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48