Abu Dhabi Says No

International tobacco controls are as important as those controls here in the U.S.  Abu Dhabi, the capital and second largest city in the United Arab Emirates, has proposed an initiative simply titled, “Abu Dhabi says no to smoking.”  A Federal Law on Tobacco Control proposal is set to expire on December 21, 2011 and the Tobacco Control Task Force (TCTF) is working with other councils and authorities to implement and enforce smoke-free regulations across the emirate.

Some of the acts prohibited by law are similar to those in the United States, such as selling tobacco or its product to persons under 18 years old, protecting people from tobacco smoke, and prohibiting smoking at schools.  Their laws go further prohibiting smoking in universities and sports facilities as well as in cars where there is a passenger under 12.  Another step they have taken is prohibiting the selling and importing of sweets and games that resemble tobacco and its products, and planting and/or trafficking tobacco for commercial purposes.  They are also implementing a ban on tobacco advertisements and increasing the price of cigarettes.

Fines range from just over $100 to several thousand for smoking in public places and selling tobacco to those under 18.  Tobacco advertisements will also be fined under the proposal.  Officials of the TCTF were not clear on how smoking in Ramadan tents would be regulated this year.

Although smoking laws have been in place for years, most have not been enforced as smoking is steeped in the culture of this region.  Cessation programs and enforcement of laws already in place will help to protect the health of everyone now and in the future.

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