News of stricter smoking laws in the UAE, including a possible ban in all bars and clubs, has received a mixed response. Here we battle it out
Time Out Dubai staff
Bring on the ban
‘There are a whole bunch of medical reasons why you shouldn’t smoke, and I’m sure you know them already: cancer, emphysema, heart disease, impotence… the list goes on and on. But if I’m being honest here, that’s not the reason why I’m glad the UAE government is considering more restrictive smoking laws. No, I’m championing the change because of me, not you. ‘When laws prohibiting smoking in public buildings were introduced in my home country of England, I actually felt affronted on behalf of my smoking friends. ‘‘Who are the Government to tell them what to do?’’ I asked. ‘‘What business is it of theirs?’’ But afterwards I realised how wrong I was. To be able to come home from a club or pub without stinking of smoke was an eye-opening experience, and to be able to sit down at any table in a restaurant, not just sidelined to a non-smoking corner, was even better. ‘But the best part was seeing my friends, one by one, dropping the habit. Once you divorce smoking from other, more pleasurable, experiences – dancing, eating, whatever – you begin to realise what a nasty, pointless, joyless addiction it is. Roll on the new laws!’ James Wilkinson is our Music and Nightlife editor
Help the smokers
‘Any debate on smoking sees the emergence of two clear voices: the smokers who are unhappy at having their enjoyment taken away from them, and the non-smokers who are tired of inhaling others’ cigarette smoke. Yet, frustratingly, there is another voice that is rarely heard – that of the smoker who actively embraces the idea of a blanket ban on public smoking. I have smoked for the past 20 years and have tried many different ways of giving up, from hypnotism to nicotine patches. The best I have ever managed away from my habit was three whole weeks, about a year ago. ‘The problem is always the same. If I stay in my house, away from temptation, I’m fine. If I go anywhere that people are smoking, the craving returns. ‘I can’t be alone. I want to stop. I am grateful for the new laws designed to – hopefully – make this a reality, but it will only be effective if we all work together. Smoking is not just a pastime, it’s an addiction. Anything the government can do to help can only be a good thing.’ Duncan Williams is a freelance journalist
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Nick White Feb 15, 2010 06:29 pm
It is very simple. Allow free choice. Smoke or smoke free - the trader decides; then the customer decides. Two sides to the story - not one like in Time Out's last issue (and, by the way, the least heard voice is that of the tolerant non-smoker!). There are smoke free bars in Dubai (start at Breathers at the Majestic for an example). Less than tolerant non smokers or those wanting smoke free can go to those places. Smokers and tolerant non smokers go to where smoking is allowed. Adults choose, businesses survive.
uttam Feb 11, 2010 01:27 am
Smoking sholud be banned in bars and clubs and in all public places, as done for shopping malls. Smokers area should be designated and away from the non smoking area. If smokers want to smoke, why should others who dont smoke be punished and forced to be passive smokers. They go to club and bars to enjoy or have a change in their daily routine and not to suffocate in the smoke.
Melissa Andrews Feb 09, 2010 08:35 am
Of course smoking should be banned in all bars and clubs. Everybody knows secondary smoke is harmful - it amazes me that its even still allowed! I used to be a smoker, smoked for 10 years in fact, heavily. I was never bothered by cigarette smoke then because I was always encased in a thick haze of it myself. I didn't consider anyone else as everybody else seemed to be smoking at that time (poor non-smokers were prob not even out). Now that I finally quit, and it was the best decision I have ever made in my life, I find that I cannot bear the smell of cigarette smoke. My eyes burn, my throat closes making it difficult for me to breathe and I usually last about half an hour before I have to leave. I still want to go to the occasional bar or club but simply can't unless I can sit outdoors! So banning smoking is really the only ethical thing to do. If your habit causes someone else to suffer, at least have the decency to do it outside. And the more that smoking becomes socially unacceptable, the more difficult we make it for smokers to smoke, the better it is for them as they will smoke less.
I'd also like to recommend a book that helped me become a successful, happy non-smoker called Allen Carrs Easyway to Stop Smoking. I highly recommend it for anyone serious about stopping smoking.