DM to rope in sports stars to help stub out smoking

DUBAI - All private and public sports clubs and stadiums in the emirate will become ‘smoke free’ from September this year, Ahmad Saad Al Shareef, secretary-general of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), said.

Further, smoking will also be banned in sports activity halls, sports goods shops and amusement and games centres, he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a function held to mark the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the council and the Dubai Municipality, Shareef said both the bodies would initiate steps through which smoking could be completely curbed in stadiums, sports clubs and other sports-related outlets and centres.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Acting Director-General of the municipality, said with the youth brigade idolising famous personalities, they would be roping in popular local and international sports stars to publicise the harmful effects of smoking among the people, particularly the youth.

Although there are curbs on smoking in the stadiums currently, the officials said the implementation would be stricter from September. Moreover, they would shift focus to the many private sports clubs, asking them to regulate smoking on their premises. However, the fines would be imposed in a later phase, officials noted.

Al Shareef pointed out that smoking would be banned in activity halls and sports goods shops among others. Designated smoking rooms would be allowed on these premises based on the rules and regulations. Both the municipality and the DSC will appoint coordinators to follow up the implementation

A consultative team will also be formed to identify the smoking areas in different locations. Smoking ban signs would be installed in places where it is not permitted, he added.

Meanwhile, Lootah said the fourth phase of the smoking regulation in public places came into effect on July 1.

In this phase, smoking curbs are being enforced in all entertainment and recreation places like billiards and snooker shops, Internet cafes, video game halls etc.

Zuhoor Al Sabbagh, Director of the Public Health Services Department of the municipality, said the entertainment and recreation places mean the enclosed areas for these purposes which include, but not restricted to, billiards and snooker halls, gaming shops and Internet cafes where members are normally allowed to smoke.

"For having permitted areas for smoking, these places should get a licence from the Department of Economic Development (DED). The designated smoking areas need to be not less than 2,000 sq ft (hall area) and have a playing area of 1,500 sq ft.

A majority of Internet cafes, which don’t have big spaces, will not have any smoking areas. There should also be the approval of the Buildings Department for interior decoration in addition to approval from the Public Health Services Department," she added.

The civic body started implementing smoking regulations last year. The first phase saw curbs enforced on shopping malls, followed by hotels, restaurants and cafes and Sheesha joints.

More news from