May 30, 2012
Posted: 1555 GMT
Smokers in the United Arab Emirates may soon be feeling the squeeze.
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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