x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Call for higher tobacco duties

The GCC's anti-tobacco committee recommends member nations increase duties on tobacco to deter its use.

DUBAI // The GCC's anti-tobacco committee yesterday recommended that member nations increase duties on tobacco to deter its use. Dr Ali bin Shakr, director general of the Ministry of Health, said the two-day meeting in Dubai is to assess the progress of GCC nations towards adopting policies called for in the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. He said the committee was also to discuss limits on tobacco marketing and ways to discourage smoking by young people.

"Each country has to develop its own bylaws on how to prevent smoking, passive smoking, increase taxes on tobacco and other aspects," Dr bin Shakr said. He noted that the UAE's anti-tobacco programme was proceeding apace, citing the Federal National Council's endorsement last month of a proposed law to regulate and restrict the import and sale of tobacco products. He also cited governmental action to ban smoking in public places.

Dr bin Shakr added that warnings could be ordered printed on cigarette packets. "The size of these warnings should be clear enough and visible. We will also discuss the idea of putting photos of people affected by smoking on these packs. Personally, I hope very aggressive photos are displayed on the packs so that everyone is discouraged." pmenon@thenational.ae