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Dubai shisha cafes flouting rules face fines and closures

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More than 40 Dubai cafes and restaurants were fined for serving shisha after recent inspections because it breaks rules regarding passive smoking, Dubai-based newspaper Gulf News reported on Sunday.

The Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Sector of the Department of Economic Development fined 41 restaurants and cafes for violating the sector’s anti-passive smoking campaign.

The ‘No to Passive Smoking’ campaign was launched by the department last Ramadan and prohibits cafes from receiving pregnant women and children under 18 to reduce passive smoking.

The sector has launched a series of campaigns and raids since the beginning of Ramadan this year to remind restaurateurs, coffee shop owners and traders about the initiative and to warn them not to take advantage of the increased demand for shisha during the holy month.

Aimed at teenagers and young adults, the campaign tackles the concept of peer pressure and a growing trend of young smokers.

A study from Rashid Hotel, Dubai estimates that smokers amount to 23-24% of the population in the UAE, with almost half smoking shisha and “midwakh”, a small smoking pipe popular in the UAE.

As part of the campaign, medical specialists highlighted the dangers and effects of smoking on the skin, heart and bones, as well as other parts of the body.

Over half of the violations involved shisha cafes allowing youths under 18 inside their premises.

There have been several introductory campaigns in Dubai, where there are more than 500 shisha cafes and restaurants, Ahmad Al Awadi, Head of Field Control in the sector, told Gulf News.

More than 10,000 awareness leaflets and posters have been distributed in over 100 coffee shops during routine visits by the sector.