Wednesday, December 12, 2007

They seem to be serious about the smoking ban

Last time a smoking ban was introduced it wasn't enforced, smokers ignored it and it was dropped.

This time the whole story seems to be different. Boy, did I get that one wrong!

Mind you, I was mislead by earlier statements from the Municipality.

Here's what I said in an earlier posting:

" countries such as Australia, the US, Britain, smoking bans are respected. It's highly unlikely they'll be respected here.

More importantly, they won't be enforced.

As I reported in June, Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, said that under the terms of the understanding with the malls, the onus of enforcement would be on the mall management.

"There will be no fines. Malls will be self-regulating,"
he said, adding that mall employees would have to tell smoking patrons to stub out and direct them to designated smoking areas."

I'm amazed, but delighted, that smokers appear to be obeying the ban. Certainly in the various malls and restaurants I go into I haven't seen anyone smoking.

There are even not many grouped around outside the entrance, having furtive drags.

A big help, I'm sure, was that the timing of the ban had been thought about, starting as it did immediately after Ramadan.

The ban is going to be enforced by big fines on both smoker and venue - something that originally the Municipality said would not happen. And the establishment can call the police if a smoker ignores the instruction to stop.

From next month the fines for smokers disobeying the law will be Dh500 for a first offence, Dh1,000 for a second offence, Dh4,000 for the third and Dh5,000 for any repeat thereafter.

That's an expensive cigarette!

Malls and restaurants must have a designated smoking zone with specific ventilation and smoke-absorbers. If they don't meet the requirements, smoking must not be allowed in these zones.

Fines on the establishment for not correctly regulating smoking will start at Dh10,000 and could go up to Dh50,000.

There is a total ban on smoking in establishments such as educational establishments, hair salons, internet cafes, health clubs, food courts and public offices.

Just going off at a tangent for a moment - this surely gives a hint that fines for driving offences must be increased dramatically. If you can be hit with a Dh5,000 fine for smoking a cigarette surely dangerous driving should atttract a fine several times bigger than that.


Serious Assistance said...

I agree - I am positively surprised that so far it seems to be working. A few weeks back, I was at a restaurant when a group of youngsters in the table next to me lit a few cigarettes. I immediately signaled the waiter and he stopped them cold. Not only that, he also informed the floor manager and he approached their table and told them they would have to leave the mall if they wanted to smoke.

Stephen said...

What is undeniable is the fact that all news mediae frontpage the anti-smoking false alleged claims
about second hand smoke, butt refuse to frongtpage also that there are many scientists and
researchers, even doctors and politicians, who do NOT believe the anti-smokers' false alleged claims
about second hand smoke.

THAT is deliberate suppression of information and an undeniable violation of freedom of speech, as
well as a few other constitutional rights.

Steve Hartwell
Toronto, Canada