Every year on May 31, countries worldwide which are signatories to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) work together to raise public awareness of the risks of tobacco use and what can be done to fight this epidemic that claims one life every six seconds.
The UAE, which ratified the FCTC in 2005, is not immune to this pressure from the tobacco industry. The mere delay in the passing of the bylaws or implementing regulations for the anti-tobacco federal law is testament to this, Dr Wedad Al Maidoor, Head of the National Tobacco Control Committee, Ministry of Health, told Gulf News.
“Tobacco companies have been lobbying, although not directly, against government smoking cessation efforts such as putting the graphic warning into the cigarette packets. It is also one of the reasons why the law was passed late and why the implementing regulations are taking time to be passed,” Dr Al Maidoor said.
Studies show that making smoking more expensive is an effective measure in curbing smoking. In the UAE, this proposal is still in its final stage of discussion. Graphic warnings on the cigarette packets, however, will finally be implemented in August.
All tobacco products are banned from being sold in the entire emirate of Dubai today in observance of World No Tobacco Day, a senior official at the Dubai Municipality said.
The World No Tobacco Day is observed every May 31 to raise awareness of the lethal effects of tobacco and to encourage the public to abstain from all forms of tobacco consumption for 24 hours.
“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,” Redha Salman said.