Dubai is still playing catch-up when it comes to implementing a blanket ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, but reports claim the emirate could soon complete the transition. The current no-smoking law covers malls and hospitals, as well as restaurants and bars depending on the type of ventilation systems fitted. By December, it is anticipated this ruling will extend to all hotel rooms and restaurants.
Some Dubai venues, such as The Address Montgomerie, already subscribe to these conditions. ‘Our hotel rooms and all indoor places are already 100 per cent non-smoking, and we’d like to keep it that way,’ explains Ali Furtan, manager at the hotel’s Nineteen restaurant. Aquara, at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club, also follows this lead. ‘Second-hand smoke kills, so we promote a healthy, safe environment,’ explains food and beverage manager Winifred Steven.
According to the most recent statistics, 23 per cent of men and 2.9 per cent of women in the UAE smoke, while the portion of the global population lighting up is approximately 20 per cent. Around the world, there have been mixed reactions to bans on smoking in bars, clubs and restaurants, with non-smoking venues in the US, Germany, Australia and the UK reporting huge losses – up to 50 per cent in some cases – blamed on a decline in alcohol sales and club admissions. On the other hand, live musicians in Ireland have cheerfully reported that their instruments require much less cleaning as a result of less polluted environments.
We’ll have to wait a while to see the impact of a smoking ban on Dubai’s clubs and restaurants. In the meantime, whether you’re a smoker or not, why not give your breathing apparatus a break and head to one of these smoke-free spots?