DM fines 25 restaurants for violating smoking curbs

DUBAI - As many as 25 restaurants in the emirate have been slapped with fines ranging between Dh5,000 and Dh10,000 for violating the smoking regulations in public places, Salem bin Mesmar, Assistant Director-General for Health, Safety and Environment Control at the Dubai Municipality, said yesterday.

By Joy Sengupta (Our staff reporter)

Published: Tue 8 Jul 2008, 1:33 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:06 PM

Although there is a list of fines for individuals violating the regulations, none of them caught flouting the curbs has been fined so far.

The civic body launched the smoking regulations in several phases beginning last year. The first phase targeted shopping centres and malls, the second phase targeted hotels, resorts, furnished apartments etc and in the third phase, the curbs were enforced in restaurants, cafes and sheesha joints. The fourth phase, which came into effect on July 1 this year, targets Internet cafes and entertainment and recreational places.

"No individual has been fined till now. Though, according to the draft law on the smoking regulations, there are fines and penalties for the individuals as well. We want to give the individuals ample time to understand the regulations. The people must be clear that the municipality could fine them and will start doing so in the near future," said Mesmar.

A person who is smoking in violation of the regulations can be fined Dh1,000 for the first time and the fine would double for repeated offences and could go up to Dh8,000 for the fourth offence.

The official added that the civic body has faced problems with the Sheesha cafes. "Even now, there are many sheesha joints operating in the residential areas. The DM has given them time till the end of this year to shift. We have reminded them time and again that no sheesha joint can operate in residential areas. A circular regarding this has been circulated issued to all of them. We would be closing down all such joints violating the norms from the next year," he added.

The official said the groceries selling tobacco products to people less than 20 years must stop the practice immediately. "Though we have not fined any of them till now, we will start doing it soon. The fines start at Dh2,000 for the first time and could go on doubling for repeated offences. The target would now be on the small groceries. We are also involving the inspectors of the Food Control Section for checks," Mesmar noted.

The official said they were toying with the idea of stopping cigarette sales in the cash counters of shopping centres, petrol stations and groceries.

"We would decide on this in the future. Also, we would be targeting schools and seek cooperation of the Ministry of Education," he said.

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