The smoking laws

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

The Knowledge
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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