It was a day without smoke for the city of Dubai on Tuesday, May 31, as they marked “World No Smoking Day” by banning the sale of cigarettes and tobacco for 24 hours. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a member state that ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) which is fighting tobacco use throughout the world. Almost all restaurants and cafes in Dubai participated in the campaign. Supermarkets and gas stations posted signs saying cigarettes would not be sold.
Part of the government strategy to control smoking is to raise the price of tobacco by 100%, but that is currently being worked out with other government departments. Another strategy is to build more cessation clinics throughout the country. Currently, there are seven clinics which have helped 400 smokers quit tobacco in 2010. More efforts would also be made to educate students about the harmful effects of smoking. The Federal Anti-Smoking law was passed 2009 yet many of departments were unaware of it and were not enforcing it. One example is not fining motorists who smoke with a child inside the car.
Kudos to Dubai. Let’s follow their lead next year and ban tobacco sales for 24 hours.