The Department of Economic Development (DED) in partnership with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has launched a campaign to create awareness on the dangers of passive smoking. The campaign targets sheesha joints, restaurants and cafes with smoking areas.
DED has already held meetings with the outlets targeted in the campaign and will ensure they are implementing the directive starting August 2012. Outlets failing to comply will be warned initially and later fined, and may face temporary shutdown as a next step.
Stickers with messages on the harmful effects of passive smoking on babies, pregnant women and young people below the age of 18 will be displayed in sheesha joints, restaurants and cafes as part of the campaign in order to discourage such outlets from opening their doors to these high risk groups.
“The campaign aims to protect basic human rights, including the right to take informed decisions. A child has his right to healthy living like everyone, irrespective of whether he is in his mother’s womb or out in this world,” said Walid Abdul Malik, Director, Commercial Control at the consumer Compliance and Consumer Protection Division of DED.
Inhaling tobacco smoke is reported to cause respiratory problems and infections of the ear, nose and throat in newborns. Among pregnant women, passive smoking, also known as second-hand smoking, is said to add to the risk of low birth weight and premature birth of their babies.
“Young people also need guidance till they are mature enough to make informed decisions. They should not be given a chance to be part of or involve in harmful practices like smoking,” added Abdul Malik.
“Reports indicate nearly 600,000 people die of passive smoking around the world every year. A study conducted by Dubai Health Authority in 2010 showed 46 people sought medical help in Dubai for complications related to passive smoking. We are thankful to the Department of Economic Development for supporting us in tackling this public health challenge,” said Dr Ramadan Ibrahim Mohammed, Director of Health Regulation at DHA.
“DED is keen to work in partnership with other government agencies and the private sector to ensure healthy living in Dubai. Public health is the responsibility of every resident and we expect everyone to support our joint initiative with the Dubai Health Authority,” said Abdul Malik.
Any violation of the new directive on passive smoking can be reported by calling Ahlan Dubai on 600 545555.