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Smoking ban: bad for business?

Smoking ban: bad for business?

As the UAE looks to finalize its Federal National Tobacco law, some are calling for an outright ban. Such a move would have serious implications for many businesses.

May 25, 2010 11:40 by

The head of public health and safety at Abu Dhabi Health Authority, Dr. Salim Adib, has called on a total ban of smoking in public spaces in the UAE, according to The National.

“We want to prevent the use of tobacco products in all public venues in the country. We want to fight this,” he said.

His comments come as a two-day meeting gets under way, during which the by-laws of the Federal National Tobacco Law are set to be finalized. The law is set to become effective before the end of the year.

Dr. Ziad al Najjar, a public health specialist at the Dubai Health Authority, is also quoted in the report. He said smoking areas and rooms could act as triggers for those trying to quit, and banning smoking outright was the only way to reduce the increasing number of smokers.

“Any way you look at it, a complete ban is the way forward,” he said. He pledged that the DHA would try to introduce a total ban in Dubai even without a federal ban.

The new federal law is set to prohibit smoking in many public areas, though it allows many buildings to designate smoking areas. Government buildings, schools, universities, hospitals, theatres, places of worships and fitness centers will all be barred from doing so, however.

Restaurants, cafes and hotels would be able to set up smoking areas. But many worry that the law will create confusion, and should be simplified to become an outright ban.

The model for such a ban would be Western Europe, where countries such as Great Britain have successfully introduced total bans. But what are the implications of such a move for business?

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