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Inside the Middle East
May 30, 2012
Posted: 1555 GMT

Arab clients smoke waterpipes after breaking their fast at a Ramadan tent in a five-star hotel in Dubai on September 16, 2008. (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Smokers in the United Arab Emirates may soon be feeling the squeeze.

Dubai is set to mark World No Tobacco Day this Thursday by banning tobacco sales for 24 hours, according to the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News.

More than 200 companies – including restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets – have reportedly elected not to sell tobacco products for the day.

In the past five years, the UAE has banned smoking in closed public places, increased the price of cigarettes, and soon will cover tobacco-related products with graphic warning labels.

But banning tobacco altogether may be tough for some:

A pack of cigarettes in the UAE costs under $2, but the nation's rulers are intending to change that.  Measures such as a tax increase on cigarettes are just one example of  the country's plan to discourage smoking – especially among the younger generation.

“It is never too late for the smoker to consider quitting regardless of the type, amount or duration of smoking. Whenever you have the will, there will always be a way,” Dr. Abdul Razzak Al Kaddour, a cardiologist at the Sheikh Khalifah Medical City in Abu Dhabi, told the Khaleej Times.  The Sheikh Khalifah Medical City is putting up breath-analyzing booths on Thursday to help motivate smokers to quit.

Dubai residents welcomed the news on social media, but some noted that the day-long ban might not go far enough:

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi •Dubai •General •UAE


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TGM   May 31st, 2012 5:31 am ET

It is about as meaningful as the token day light fasting inramadan that is followed by after dark gluttony.

warsteiner   May 31st, 2012 1:15 pm ET

Please so everyone buy two packs the day before it absolutely meaningless.

Brad Williams   May 31st, 2012 10:55 pm ET

Here, I think a pack is about $9 each. 14% of people smoke here. $2 in UAE, doesnt make sense, the population has a higher per capita income than we do. Double the price or double the taxes with more restrictions and very disturbing photos of what smoking will do to you may help. Medical community should have more clout too.

Darwish   June 3rd, 2012 10:46 pm ET

I would love to see one day a city that would outlaw cigarette smoking. Also, raising taxes will make a difference, but not too much.


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