DUBAI // Nearly 300 businesses - including petrol stations and supermarkets - in Dubai will voluntarily refrain from selling tobacco for 24 hours from midnight today.
The campaign is part of Dubai Municipality's annual initiative for the World No Tobacco Day.
"The move is aimed at spreading awareness about the dangers of cigarette smoking to make people think about the dangers of tobacco consumption, as it kills millions of people and affects the public health," said Redha Salman, director of the public health and safety department at the municipality.
Every year, petrol stations, supermarkets and shops are encouraged by Dubai Municipality to stop the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products on May 31.
Officials, however, hoped companies would continue the practice all year round, instead of the token 24 hours.
"The number of outlets participating in the World No Tobacco Day is increasing. This is a good sign. But we would prefer they didn't sell tobacco or display them openly. We are waiting for the federal regulation, which will have more details," Mr Salman said.
The municipality will not issue fines against those stores that do not take part in the No Tobacco Day campaign. But, Mr Salman warned, "If we notice anyone [who is] participating in the ban has sold anything in public, we will name the violators."
This year, about 52 Emirates pumps and 85 Enoc pumps are taking part in the voluntary ban. Supermarket chains such as Hyper Panda, Safeer Group, News Center, Cadolle, Spinneys, Carrefour, Choithram, Lulu, Maya, Family, West Zone and J-Mart will also participate.