Up in smoke

Cost of cigarettes in the UAE could double to Dhs14 to help smokers quit

The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes could double as part of the UAE's campaign to help smokers quit, it was reported on Thursday.

A packet could rise to about Dhs14, the Ministry of Health (MoHsaid, with further increases imposed in the future.

The move is one of a number of anti-smoking restrictions being considered as part of a new law that came into effect on Wednesday, UAE daily The National reported.

The new regulations will ban smoking in some public and private locations, halt tobacco advertising and require more detailed warnings on cigarette packets.

Dr Wedad al Maidour, the head of the MoH tobacco control team, told the paper: "We would like to increase the cost, but this is not possible through increases in the import tax. We can, however, raise the cost through increases in different taxes.

"In the first stage we would aim to double the price of a packet of cigarettes. We would also increase the price regularly, maybe every five years."

The new law, which will forbid smoking on public transport or in enclosed public spaces, will be enforced by police and municipal inspectors.

Cafes and restaurants located in residential areas will be given two years to relocate or implement the ban.

People who break the law will face fines of up to Dh1 million (US$272,000) and jail sentences of more than two years.

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