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Federal Anti-smoking Law Carries Stiff Penalties

Adel Arafah
 (KTExclusive) / 23 January 2009

ABU DHABI - Stiff penalties, including prison and fines of up to Dh50,000, will be imposed on individuals or establishments for violations of a new federal anti-smoking law, a Ministry of Justice official said on Thursday.

The draft law includes a ban on the sale of cigarettes to people under 18 years.

The draft of the law will be finalised by the Health Affairs Committee of the Federal National Council on Monday and would be submitted to the House for approval, committee chairman Abdullah Al Shehi said on Thursday.

Shehi said the meeting would be attended by Dr Ali Shakar, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health.

An official source at the Ministry of Justice said the draft law lays down the rules that organise the production, import and sale of tobacco products with the objective of curbing smoking.

Fines will be doubled if the offence is repeated The law bans smoking in offices, public places, on public transport, in shopping malls, schools, universities, hospitals, care homes, sports associations and social and cultural clubs.

It not only aims to protect the health of all segments of society but also to reduce the country’s financial burden from treating patients suffering from smoking-related diseases, the source said.

The law details smoking in all its forms — cigarette, shisha or ‘Midwakh’ among others — as well as the specifications of products, which are allowed to be sold in shops or used by people.

The law prohibits tobacco cultivation and setting up of factories of tobacco products or expansion of the present ones. No cigarette consignment will be allowed to enter the country unless it complies with the conditions set by authorities.

The law will fix the highest permitted level of nicotine and tar as well as other harmful substances in cigarettes.

Details of the cigarettes’ ingredients as well as the warnings and instructions decided by the authorities concerned should be printed on the packet.

The law bans advertisements of cigarettes and other tobacco products in any media organ, unless they meet the conditions set by the competent authorities.

Anyone making announcements about tobacco and its forms for the sake of promoting tobacco cultivation or smoking in violation of the conditions, will be sentenced to not less than six months and a fine of Dh50,000. Anyone caught selling cigarettes or tobacco products to those under 18 years will be fined Dh5,000 and sentenced to one month in jail.

Also, the shop will be closed for one year, the law says.

adel@khaleejtimes.com

 
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