Sell tobacco to a minor in the UAE
Public prosecution warns against sale of tobacco to minors in the UAE. In a social media campaign, they raised awareness of the harsh penalties.
As per the UAE federal law, “The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to children”.
Advertisers and retailers who promote or sell tobacco products to children under the age of 18 face prison sentences and fines of up to Dh 1 million, UAE prosecutors said.
Those breaking the underage smoking rule risk fines between Dh500 and Dh10,000, while advertisers who flout the rules could face fines of up to Dh1m.
Observations of the law
As outlined in Wadeema’s Law, Federal Law no 3 of 2016 concerning Child rights, the regulation outlines child rights for all children. Clause 1 in Article 21 of the law prohibits the sale or attempted sale of tobacco or tobacco products to children, and gives sellers the right to ask the purchaser to provide evidence of reaching the age of eighteen.
“Whoever violates the provisions of Clauses 1 and 3 of Article (21) shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not less than three months, and/or a fine not less than Dh15,000,” the law states.
The law also prohibits smoking in public and private vehicles and indoor places in the presence of a child.
Additionally, Federal Law No.15 of 2009 regarding Tobacco Control forbids and penalises:
- the sale of tobacco products to those under 18
- smoking in private cars when a child under the age of 12 is present
- smoking in houses of worship, educational institutions (such as universities and schools), health and sports facilities
- the sale of sweets which resemble tobacco products
- automatic vending equipment and devices for tobacco distribution inside the country
- tobacco advertisement
- smoking in closed public spaces.
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Vaping among teenagers
It has been noted that teenagers have been addicted to vaping in recent years. Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by the heated nicotine liquid of an e-cigarette, vape pen, or personal vaporizer.
Vaping devices are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol or vapor, which typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. Vaping can also be used with marijuana and other drugs. The device generally looks like a flash drive and can be charged in a USB port.
Vaping devices or e-cigarettes can be easily purchased online, making it easily accessible for teenagers. Parents are advised to monitor the products which their children purchase and use. School authorities and administrators are asked to conduct a routine bag check on their students since vaping has been gaining popularity among teens.
Experts have warned that vaping is linked to brain damage in the teens, apart from its impact on the lungs. “Nicotine exposure in children and adolescents can have long-lasting, damaging effects on brain development. Teens who start vaping are also more likely to begin smoking cigarettes. Vaping has more nicotine and harmful chemicals which affect the lungs. Vaping affects the brain as the vaping gadgets create vapor containing lead, which can cause brain damage” said Dr Azeem Abdul Mohamed, and internal medicine specialist at Abu Dhabi’s Bareen Hospital.