Leisure spots focus of no-smoking drive

DUBAI — In it’s ongoing drive against smoking in public places, Dubai Municipality will concentrate on entertainment and leisure centres as a beginning, Salem bin Mesmar, Director of Public Health Department at Dubai Municipality told Khaleej Times yesterday.

By Zaigham Ali Mirza

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Published: Sun 12 Sep 2004, 10:23 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:46 PM

“We have started with the entertainment and leisure centres such as snooker and pool parlours and Internet cafes. These establishments have already been informed of the civic body’s objectives and we expect and urge them to follow through with compliance of the regulations on smoking,” Mr Salem bin Mesmar explained.

He said that the department would keenly follow the progress made by the specified establishments in complying with the rules pertaining to smoking, and hinted that various measures would be taken to enforce these rules.

Mr Salem bin Mesmar noted that while the focus is not on shopping centres at the moment, the department has been working to co-ordinate with malls in this regard. The civic body meanwhile is expecting a response on the issue from shopping malls in the emirate, he added.

“They can respond with a suggestion or a comment on the subject, and we are open to a discussion of the subject,” he commented.

Though the municipality has so far not explained the scope of its proposed ban on smoking in public places, it has given clear indications of expanding the smoke-free zone in its anti-smoking campaign launched last month.

The campaign refers to the Local Order No. 11 of 2003, which stipulates that in order to protect public health, the competent authority (the municipality) can introduce the necessary measures for banning smoking in public places such as mass transit, shopping centres, entertainment locations, restaurants and coffee shops.

The campaign poster adds that it is also “legally possible to ban smoking in other places where the smoking may cause any harm to the non-smokers or if it encourages young children (minors) to smoke.”

Explaining the municipality’s move, Mr Salem bin Mesmar said that the health and comfort of non-smokers is the prime concern of the department.

“We have no problem if someone smokes, provided he/she does not inconvenience others and harm their health. That is what we are trying to stop,” he said.

The municipality official said that the responsibility of helping people to understand the hazards of smoking and quitting the habit lies with other departments and bodies.

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