Tobacco Bill Bans Sale to Under-18s

ABU DHABI - The Federal National Council on Tuesday passed a federal bill banning the sale of tobacco or its products to people under the age of 18.

By Adel Arafah

Published: Thu 12 Feb 2009, 1:52 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:38 AM

The legislation also prohibits smoking while driving if a childaged less than 12 years is in the vehicle.

The bill, which provides for jail penalties and fines of up to Dh1 million, was passed after a lengthy debate.

The cultivation of tobacco and its products will also be banned, although the bill grants tobaccogrowers and producersa grace period — to be determined by the Health Ministry and included in a bylaw — toclose downtheir businesses.

Council members demanded that these farms be given two years to do so.

Health Minister Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Quttami noted that the workforce in these multi-million dirham businesseswill be adversely affected if they are shut down. A decision on the matter would be made later.

“The final goal of the lawis to deal with the healthaspect without affecting the tobacco trade in the UAE,” Al Quttami said.

Khaleej Times first reported in January the details of the draft law and fines.

A seller of tobacco will have the right to demand proof of age from the buyer, according to the bill.

Under the law, coffee shops will not be permitted to sell tobacco or its products in residential buildings and within a specific radius to be determined later by the bylaw.

The bill also defines the places where tobacco and its products could be sold and their daily working hours.

The coffee shops operating in residential buildings must adjust their status according to the new law within two years from the date of its enforcement. They must either change their business to continue operating or move out of the residential buildings.

Offenders will face a jail term of not less than a year and a minimum fine of Dh100,000 and up to Dh1 million.

According to the Bill, authorities will destroy seized tobacco orask the importer to dispose of the shipment at his own expense. Failing to do so will attract a fine of not less than Dh50,000 and not more than Dh200,000.

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