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Could high cigarette prices stop smoking among young people?

Published on June 2nd, 2008 13:06

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government raises the price of cigarettes for to cut the number of people lighting up. Government thinks that the UAE smokers when will see the high cost of cigarettes will stop buying them and in this way will quit.

Wedad Al Maidoor, the head of the Ministry of Health Tobacco Control Team, said that the price hike has been included in a new smoking law that is expected to come into force across the Emirates at the end of May.

The reporters said that it is not known how much prices will increase under the law.

In comparison to other countries smokers in the UAE enjoy relatively cheap cigarette prices. The average price for a pack of 20 cigarettes is 6 dirhams ($1.60), while in the UK the price is 5.66 British pounds ($11.20).

Al Maidoor added that one of the main purposes of the price rise is to reduce the number of child smokers, who are being targeted by tobacco companies.

The new legislation also includes a nationwide ban on smoking in public places.

The same ban came into effect in Al Ain on April 15, while Abu Dhabi is now planning a phased approach to its smoking regulations.

Fujairah, the one of the seven emirates that makes up the United Arab Emirates, has also banned smoking in all closed public areas and Sharjah intends to make public areas smoke-free from June.

Kuwait ranks 19th globally in tobacco consumption with a consumption rate of 2,280 cigarettes per person per year, while Saudi Arabia is 23rd, at 2,130 per person.

In total, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries spend about $800 million per year on tobacco.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), half of adult males in the Middle East are smokers.