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UAE Urges 'Smoke-Free' Companies: Enforce Strict Disciplinary Action Against Violators

Employees must first be informed about the company's tobacco-free workplace policy and issued a written notice

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on June 11, 2024, 15:04:14


smoking free companies in uae


The UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has urged companies with ‘tobacco-free’ policies to take disciplinary actions against employees who breach smoking regulations. According to MoHAP, smokers must be initially informed about the company's tobacco-free workplace policy and issued a written notice.

“There must be a record documenting the violator’s name, the incident location, timing and consequences,” MoHAP stated. The announcement coincides with the release of a tobacco-free workplace guide for companies. A ‘tobacco-free facility’ prohibits the use of tobacco in all forms.

In such government and private entities, smoking is not allowed anywhere on the premises, including outdoor and parking areas. UAE laws prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces.

The use of any form of tobacco in all public places, including governmental, health and educational institutions, public transport and other public areas, is also forbidden, according to the guide.

Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, said: “This guide will serve as a key resource to assist both government and private entities in fostering a workplace free from the use of all tobacco products.

It aligns with the UAE's commitment to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), ratified in 2005, which aims to implement effective measures to protect against exposure to tobacco smoke in workplaces, public transportation, and public places.”

Performance Documentation

The ministry recommends that the implementation of the tobacco-free policy initiative be integrated into the professional performance documentation. “To ensure a facility is tobacco-free, we recommend developing and implementing written procedures.”

These procedures should be clear and straightforward:

  • Nominate management and staff members responsible for overseeing the implementation of these procedures.
  • Raise awareness among employees about a tobacco-free environment.
  • Provide essential information to employees to help them quit smoking.
  • Communicate the procedures to all employees.
  • Outline measures to be followed in case of non-compliance.

As part of the policy, companies should place a board displaying the smoking prohibition measures prominently at the facility entrance.

“(The firm must) strictly prohibit smoking across the facility without any exceptions, especially in indoor or enclosed spaces, as well as (its) vehicles. Smoking must not be allowed in any part of the facility, including outdoor and parking areas. There must be no designated smoking rooms within the facility,” the guide stated.

Companies must remove all cigarette receptacles. The policy must be applied to everyone in the facility “without any exceptions”, including managers, employees, workers, contractors, experts, consultants, suppliers, and visitors.

Companies should place an “adequate number” of no-smoking signs in prominent places across the facility. “The signs must indicate the smoking prohibition and the associated penalties. It is imperative to place no-smoking signs throughout the smoke-free facility, including all enclosed areas, waiting rooms, corridors, lifts and other areas where smokers are likely to congregate.”

Dangers of Passive Smoking

Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 toxic chemicals. “Scientific studies and research have demonstrated that exposure to passive smoking increases the risk of critical conditions, such as coronary artery disease, angina pectoris, asthma attacks, lung cancer, sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory diseases in childhood. Emissions from any form of tobacco smoking or heating pose a health risk to individuals surrounding the smoker, as particles of heavy metals persist in the air for long periods,” the guide stated.

Ventilation systems only remove the smell and visible aspects of smoke, “not the toxic substances causing cancer.”

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