posted on 31/05/2012: 1138 views
Nearly 300 outlets, including petrol stations and retail giants, in Dubai will not sell cigarettes and tobacco products for 24 hours to mark World No Tobacco Day on Thursday.
The outlets, belonging to 14 companies, are participating in the annual anti-smoking initiative launched by the Dubai Municipality's Public Health and Safety Department.
Director of the Department Redha Hassan Salman, who initiated a voluntary ban on cigarette sale for a day on World No Tobacco Day in partnership with Dubai's petrol stations in 2010, said May 31 is a day the municipality would like to see individuals and companies extending their support to the anti-tobacco measures taken by the UAE authorities.
"The move is aimed at spreading awareness about the dangers of cigarette smoking...as it kills millions of people and affects the public health,” he said.
In 2011, nearly 200 outlets took part in the initiative in which awareness materials about dangers of cigarette smoking were distributed. Their number rose to 283 as at Wednesday afternoon with registrations still going on for today.
The participating outlets include 52 Emarat and 85 Enoc petrol stations and major business establishments such as Hyper Panda, Safeer Group, News Centre, Cadolle, Spinneys, Carrefour, Choithram, Lulu, Maya, Family, West Zone and J-Mart. All restaurants and cafes are also expected to cooperate with the civic body and participate in the campaign by stopping the sale of tobacco products, mainly shisha, during the day.
"We want to see all of the outlets continuing with such efforts the rest of the days as well,” said Salman.
"Not selling cigarettes to youngsters and not displaying them in easily visible counters and doing whatever is possible to minimise the use of tobacco products...They need to go beyond No Tobacco Day out of their concern for public health,” he said.
Al Manama Group's business development manager Samil Musaliar said the 16 hypermarkets and supermarkets belonging to the group have done exactly the same. "We are happy that we are celebrating the first No Tobacco Day after we became the first retail group in the UAE to voluntarily stop the sale of cigarettes, which used to have an annual turnover of Dh10million.”
He said there was a turnover of Dh2.5million when the group put a full stop on cigarette sales in March. The group's managing director, AK Sabeer, who took the decision to kick butts off the shelves to support the anti-tobacco initiatives of the UAE government, is being honoured by the Ministry of Health in Ras Al Khaimah and Texas, the Thiruvananthapuram Expatriates Association, in Dubai.
Texas, a welfare organisation of Indian expatriates from the Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala, is conducting week-long events to spread awareness about the dangers of smoking and use of tobacco products, especially among labourers and schoolchildren. The association will conduct a free medical camp at Gulf Model School on Friday where essay and painting competitions for students and a painting exhibition will also be organised as part of the campaign. – Khaleej Times
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