Smoking in public places likely to be banned

Smoking in public places likely to be banned

Once the Ministry of Health passes the anti-tobacco law, which is under preparation, smoking in the public places is very likely to be banned throughout the country.


Silvia Radan

Published: Tue 28 Jun 2011, 10:33 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:41 AM

“This will include all the shisha cafes where indoors smoking is highly unhealthy,” said Nouf Khamis, health educator at the ministry.

In the meantime, MOH is launching a two-month tobacco awareness campaign starting from September, targeting school children in the age group of 10 to 18 years.

“The campaign will be run through mass media, social networks and visits to schools,” Khamis told Khaleej Times. According to John Hopkins International Health Researchers, tobacco kills five million people each year and 20 per cent of men over 40 years die because of tobacco annually. This includes second hand smoking, which is as harmful as lighting up yourself. In the UAE, there seems to be little awareness about the issue since many parents are still seen with small children and even infants, spending hours in shisha cafes, especially during Ramadan evenings.

“That is why we will have special campaigns during Ramadan about smoking, food and lifestyle,” said Nasser Khalifa Al Budoor, assistant under-secretary, International Relations and Health Affairs at the ministry.

“Because they are fasting all day, people tend to smoke and eat a lot more during Ramadan, which is unhealthy. Besides, Ramadan is not about night feasting, but about controlling your food intake and cleansing your body.”

The Ramadan and other campaigns by the ministry were revealed recently by Al Budoor during a GCC meeting in Abu Dhabi regarding health education. A new TV health awareness programme, “Salamtak”, was announced during the meeting. It will be broadcast throughout the Gulf countries and will focus on family health problems.

“Diabetes remains the biggest health issue in the UAE, but all our awareness programmes are helping and cases are reducing,” mentioned Al Budoor.

“We’ve distributed brochures about it. We are also sending SMS messages, working with Du. We are about to partner with Etisalat and Blackberry, too, in addition to raising health topics through our Twitter and Facebook pages.”

Yet another campaign, focusing on the healthy heart, will also start in September, running till December. This time it will target companies and work places, focusing on healthy diets, physical activities, stress management and smoking. Employees will also receive full health screenings and individual health advice.

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