x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Tough on tobacco

As well as increasing prices of tobacco products, it is important to strictly implement the anti-tobacco legislation to curb smoking.

For years, governments across the world have succeeded - in varying degrees - in combatting smoking by increasing prices of tobacco products. This strategy confirms one of the basic laws of economics thatas the price of a product rises, the quantity of its consumption falls, and vice versa.

But, as The National reported yesterday, a paper, authored jointly by Dubai Police and Al Tamimi and Co, suggests that such a move might prove counterproductive in the UAE. The warning comes as GCC countries plan to raise taxes on tobacco imports by 100 per cent.

It's "a country where the majority of the population has a high income so they [the people] don't care about a price increase", the paper said. Counter-productively, it could also lead to an increase in illicit trade.

As well as raising prices, stricter implementation of the anti-tobacco legislation is necessary.

Tobacco is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in many countries. Unfortunately, options are limited. Requiring more prominent warnings on cigarette packaging and advertisements, and extensive educational campaigns should be part of a broader Government strategy to help smokers to quit and prevent young people from starting.