Draft bill on tobacco control under review

ABU DHABI — Health authorities are busy debating the pros and cons of a law on tobacco control, even as tobacco companies are lobbying strongly against the proposed bill in a bid to protect their own vested interests.

By Nada S. Mussallam

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Published: Wed 17 May 2006, 11:10 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:41 PM

The law, once implemented, will impose restrictions on the consumption and promotion of tobacco products. However, officials were not certain as to when the bill would be put in place.

When asked, Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Health, said the authorities concerned are studying a draft bill on tobacco control prior to it being submitted to higher authorities for endorsement. "The authorities concerned in the country are contemplating a draft bill on tobacco control before submitting it to higher authorities for approval," Qutami told Khaleej Times.

As for when the resolution on tobacco control will be implemented, the minister declined to mention a precise date.

Meanwhile, an official source at the Ministry of Health (MoH) told this scribe an amended draft bill on tobacco control with a special emphasis on banning tobacco advertising and promotion had been prepared, under the chairmanship of the ministry.

"The amended bill drafted by a national committee under the chairmanship of the MoH were subject to many changes concerning tobacco advertising and promotion," said the official source.

The ministries of culture, environment and water and the General Secretariat of the UAE Municipalities have prepared the resolution on tobacco control.

Elaborating on the amended law, the official said provisions of the resolution focus on various aspects of tobacco control like taxation, smuggling, farming and importing. He underlined the ministry's keenness that the amended provisions will comply with the WHO global and evidence-based Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which seeks to secure rights of people to the highest standards of health. Banning selling tobacco to minors and reducing exposure of young people to environmental tobacco smoking, are also stipulated in the law, he said.

According to a recent report of the WHO's Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, tobacco will become the leading cause of mortality worldwide. The report estimated tobacco will reap the life of nearly 10 million persons annually by year 2030.

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