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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Tough no-smoking law on its way

Smoking will be banned in all indoor public spaces, including restaurants, cafes and hotels, health officials agreed.
Earlier drafts of the law allowed smoking in designated areas. Above, a man smokes at a cafe in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi.
Earlier drafts of the law allowed smoking in designated areas. Above, a man smokes at a cafe in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi.

DUBAI // Smoking will be banned in all indoor public spaces, including restaurants, cafes and hotels, health officials agreed yesterday. The proposed by-laws of the Federal National Tobacco Law include a clause prohibiting any indoor public places from creating designated smoking rooms. Earlier drafts of the law allowed specific establishments to create a special area for smokers within no-smoking buildings.

If the by-laws do not meet with opposition, they could be in place by the end of the year, the head of the National Tobacco Control Committee said. Yesterday The National reported that senior health officials warned that the law will be ineffective unless smoking is banned in these areas. Dr Wedad al Maidoor, the head of the National Tobacco Control Committee, said after the two-day discussions that it had been decided to disallow smoking rooms.

"All of us agreed that it will be a total ban and that we should follow guidelines from the World Health Organisation which say if you specify a smoking area it should be outside the building," she said. It is likely that smokers will be forced to move at least 25ft away from the building entrance to avoid smoke "blowing in the door", she added. The draft by-laws must be sent to the relevant ministries and municipalities for approval before they can be signed by the Government.

Dr al Maidoor said she would probably set a deadline of early August or September for the authorities to lodge concerns or complaints about the by-laws. This public-space ban will not apply to shisha cafes, but they will be subject to stricter regulations, she said. "They must not be in residential areas. They have two years to move. There will be other specifications, such as not allowing children inside, but these will be worked out in the by-law."

Shisha cafes will also have to adopt more abbreviated opening times and post warnings on shisha pipes. The law will also put an end to all forms of tobacco advertising. munderwood@thenational.ae

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