Shisha smoking will be strictly regulated
DUBAI — The regulations governing shisha-serving outlets will be strictly implemented in the next few months, but the municipal authorities in Dubai have not banned smoking of shisha during the holy month of Ramadan.
This was stated by Redha Hassan Salman, Director of Public Health and Safety Department in Dubai Municipality, after reports of a "ban on shisha" appeared in a section of the media.
"Shisha smoking in public places will be strictly regulated, and the cafes found not complying with the municipality rules will be soon ordered closed. The programme that we launched in November 2007 is to gradually regulate shisha smoking, and we have not initiated any ban on shisha outlets," Salman told Khaleej Times.
"We have also devised a new strategy to regulate the setting up of Ramadan tents where shisha is served. Only 4-star and 5-star restaurants will be allowed to set up tents and the activities conducted in the tent will be monitored," he pointed out.
The Grind, a coffee shop cum shisha-serving outlet that has been operating for the last two and a half years in the Al Mankhool area in Bur Dubai, has 75 per cent of its income from shisha smokers.
Amin Chandra, general manager of The Grind, said, "It would be very troubling if there was a ban on shisha smoking. So far, we have not received any notification from the municipality regarding the curb in sale of shisha during Ramadan. We have taken a lot of care to implement the required rules like proper ventilation, adequate space, and safety. During the last Ramadan, a large number of people came to smoke shisha every night, and we are expecting a similar response this year."
Karen Pinto, a student of the American University of Sharjah said, "I regularly visit shisha joints and coffee shops even during Ramadan. It would have been disappointing if they were to place a ban on smoking." Jina Serapon, manager of Aroma Garden cafe in Bur Dubai which serves shisha, said, " We have been operating the shisha cafe since 2001 and quite a lot of people come to enjoy shisha every night. Our business would definitely go down if a ban is placed on shisha smoking. It would also disappoint a lot of our regular customers as there would be only sweets and beverages to serve."
Shisha outlets must be enclosed, and with proper ventilation system
Shisha outlets must display a cautionary notice prohibiting the entry of people below the age of 20
The coal preparation area (platform) must have a mechanical exhaust system
The coal must be stored in a safe place, away from inflammable materials
The smoking area must be separated from the area where shisha is prepared, or tea, coffee or other food items are prepared
The shisha outlets must use only disposable mouthpieces and must provide separate toilets and wash basins for men and women
All the employees of shisha outlets should possess proper health cards
Fire-fighting and safety equipment must be in place
Decorative material, including curtains, table cloths and all items hanging from the ceilings or on the walls, should be fire-resistant
The shisha cafes shall not cause any disturbance or nuisance to the residents of the area or impede the movement of the traffic
(Source: Dubai Public Health and Safety Department)
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