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The shock tactic

The shock tactic

UAE seems hell-bent on stopping people from smoking their way to death. But is it going too far?

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August 10, 2008 8:49 by



Banning people from smoking in parks, hotels, malls, restaurants, cafes and sports halls doesn’t seem to be enough. Dubai will join the other emirates in using ‘shock tactics’ to stop people from puffing tobacco (in the few places that they can).

The UAE hopes to shock smokers into quitting the habit by posting pictures of dying cancer patients and rotting teeth on tobacco products. The photographs will start appearing on packs sold in the country from early next year.

While the target seems to be justified (the World Health Organization says 10 percent of 13 to 15 year olds in the UAE smoke), the means just seems a bit extreme. After all, it’s not only smokers who walk into a shop keeping cigarette packets. A young child may accidentally be subjected to a very gory picture of a corpse, and while it could ensure that he never smokes throughout his life, it could cause some bad nightmares. On the other hand, an age-old smoker may have seen endless such images, none of which shock him anymore.

It’s also unsure how exactly the authorities will use the tactic on shisha users. After all, shisha too has tobacco, and it seems difficult to imagine shocking images on the narrow pipe or the stand.

Your thoughts are welcome.



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