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Posted On: 2 May 2010 04:16 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Anti-smoking measures insufficient: Survey

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Even as the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has intensified its campaign against smoking in public places, a large number of nationals and residents feel that the measures taken by the authorities to combat this menace are far from satisfactory. In an online survey conducted by Al Sharq, the majority of respondents (58 percent) said they were not satisfied with the ongoing SCH campaign and called for stricter measures against those violating the anti-tobacco law in the country. Some pointed out that the ban on smoking had been openly violated in many offices of ministries, companies and institutions. The ban has also become a convenient excuse for some employees to leave their office quite frequently under the pretext of going out to smoke. Some respondents called for imposing stricter penalties for violations of the law. Inspection teams should be formed with members from all communities, and given judicial powers to book the violators, they said. “People who are authorised to execute the ban fail to do follow-up in this regard due to the lack of a contact mechanism with the regulatory bodies,” said Mubarak Saleh Salim a member of the Central Municipal Council (CMC), while reacting to the survey results. The CMC had proposed establishing special offices in shopping malls to deal with complaints from consumers as well as those related with smoking in public places. It had also proposed putting up signboards in shopping malls warning people against smoking and displaying the telephone numbers of the offices in charge of the smoking ban. The respondents also called for unified efforts by the SCH, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning and the managements of shopping malls to effectively implement the ban. Managements of eateries have been urged to support such efforts by advising their customers and notifying the authorities about violations.