World No Tobacco Day: Dubai is free of cigarette sales today
Public Health and Safety Department had sent letters to shops asking them to join the annual drive of abstaining from the sale of tobacco products for a day.
Photo by Rahul Gajjar/ Khaleej Times
All shops in Dubai have been asked to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products today to mark the World No Tobacco Day observed as “A Day Without Tobacco” by the Dubai Municipality.
An official from the Public Health and Safety Department told Khaleej Times that the department had sent letters to shops asking them to join the annual drive of abstaining from the sale of tobacco products for a day.
This is the sixth consecutive year that the department is conducting the drive. The department had launched the anti-tobacco initiative in 2010 with hardly 50 petrol stations stopping the sale of cigarettes for 24 hours on May 31, 2010.
Over the years, the number of participating outlets has multiplied with more categories of retail shops joining the drive and a whopping 500 shops across Dubai stopped selling cigarettes last year.
However, this year the municipality asked the rest of the shops that sell cigarettes also to join the drive, said Noora Mohammed Musairi, the head of Planning and Development Section at the department, who is coordinating the initiative.
“Almost all shops have agreed that they will stop the sale of cigarettes,” she said on Saturday.
“It is a public health initiative and we expect all of them to participate. Before it was voluntary, but now it is a must.”
She said the municipality will honour the participating groups and shops that have permanently stopped the sale of cigarettes at its headquarters today.
Prominent Dubai leisure brands offering entertainment and adventure will also spread the word of caution against the dangers of cigarette smoking by joining the municipality’s drive.
Dubai Aquarium, Ski Dubai in the Mall of Emirates, and all branches of Vox Cinemas in Dubai are the establishments supporting the drive for the second year though they do not sell cigarettes nor do they allow smoking on their premises.
Quit smoking support
The Director of the Department Marwan Al Mohammed said the municipality has also launched a year-long drive to help smokers quit smoking. The department has joined hands with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) for the drive.
Smokers are encouraged to sign up for the quit-smoking programme at the department’s booths at Mirdif City Centre and The Dubai Mall yesterday and today.
“We will refer them to the DHA’s quit smoking clinic for a complete treatment programme and next year on the World No Tobacco Day we will have a grand function to honour all those who quit smoking in one year,” said Al Mohammed, adding that registering smokers for the programme will be an ongoing initiative throughout the year.
Musairi said over 100 smokers vowed to quit smoking at the municipality’s booth at Mirdif City Centre yesterday.
The department is running several programmes to turn Dubai into a “Tobacco-Free” city.
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