It has been addressed recently that the UAE is to focus more on banning smoking in certain areas to decrease passive smoking.
There are no specific ‘smoking areas’ in bars, restaurants or cafes within the UAE. The majority of places allow smoking and health experts say smoking areas need to be introduced and the matter in general, needs to be tackled.
What are the health risks of passive smoking?
Dr Rajeev Lochan, a consultant cardiologist said that statistics on passive smoking showed similar results to those who smoked on a regular basis.
“There is a high incidence of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchitis in smokers and passive smokers.
In the UAE about 30% of the population is smoking. It is shocking. That creates a significant number of passive smokers. Second hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.”
People who do not smoke are at high risk of passive smoking effects, especially staff working in bars or shisha cafes.
An Assistant Manager of a well known Hotel in the Emirate, commented;
“If smoking was banned here we would lose a lot of customers. We wouldn’t have any one left if it was smoke free.”
Not only is it an issue for health experts but also a financial worry for tourist hot-spots and the hospitality industry.
However, despite UK physicians claiming that there is a safer approach to smoking, E-cigarettes still remain unlicensed in UAE, even though a recent review by Public Health England estimated that;
“E-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.”
Health experts in the Emirate believe that eventually they will become more popular than normal cigarettes.
It is a matter that the UAE are slowly but surely trying to sort out. The Federal Law on Tobacco Control from 2009 was introduced by Dubai Municipality in 2014, banning the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 18, but it only bans smoking in public areas such as sport venues, not cafes, restaurants or residential areas.
However, Dubai Municipality introduced a public service health campaign banning young children and pregnant women from shisha cafes to prevent passive smoking.
With an increase in people suffering from asthma, bronchitis and cancers related to smoking and passive smoking, a dramatic change is still needed.
With the changes to cigarette packaging that are to be introduced by the end of the year, and the new photographic health warnings that are to replace brand designs, these should make people think twice before smoking the contents.
It is down to the person themselves to cut down or quit but health officials are working alongside governments to ensure that smoking numbers drop and equally so do the related illnesses and fatalities.
Making members of the public and staff in the workplace aware of new health and safety legislation is important. The healthier you are, the better quality of life you will lead, and the more productive the workplace will be.
Make sure your training shows modern best practice recommendations. For example, ensure the images don’t show people smoking in offices or public spaces. By setting a good example through your choice of training could make your employees think twice.
If you are interested in training in Health & Safety using latest best practice techniques, then get in touch with Leonora Franklin.
The National UAE (July16)
The National UAE (December15)