Complex Made Simple

Watch for smoke signals this Ramadan: UAE help is on the way

Picture this: You are sitting at the mall in a UAE coffee shop, enjoying the views, breathing in the scents brewing in the store and then you smell it.

Smoke! Cigarette fumes to be precise and you panic.

“Are my lungs getting infected with second hand smoke (SHS)?”

You look over your shoulder and sure enough someone is smoking, where they shouldn’t.

Right next to him there is a clear sign that says “NO SMOKING”.

So you pull out your phone, open the new Ministry of Health (MOH) app and report him, and within seconds you see 2 security guards come and fine the perpetrator a hefty sum!

This app filters out those rogue tobacco players. Whose idea is this?

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Up in smokes

Last year the UAE MOH launched the anti-smoking drive during the beginning of Ramadan.

During the honouring ceremony for the winners of the Health Awareness “Wa3i”, which was held on May 15 this year, the Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah launched a mobile application as part of the ministry’s anti-smoking drive.

Tobacco smoking kills more than 7 million people a year while around 890 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke out of which 165,000 are children, according to the World Health Organization.

Secondhand smoke has around 7000 chemicals, out of which 250 are toxic and 60 are known to cause cancer, according to Health Orange, an industry site.

Adults suffering from SHS exposure had 1.28 times more hospital nights and 1.16 times more ER visits than non-exposed adults, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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Annual SHS-attributable healthcare costs totaled$1.9 billion (including $1.6 billion for hospital nights and $0.4 billion for ER visits) in 2010.

The UAE app is meant for reporting and monitoring violations of anti-smoking regulations.

Through the app anyone can inform the authorities about any one smoking in public places and selling tobacco to those under 18 years of age.

Fines amounting to $1,333 will be imposed on commercial firms violating the regulations.

The app can also be used to inform about violations such as displaying cigarette or shisha smoking on any local television channels or program.

There are 262 permanent clinics across the Kingdom that provide treatment and awareness services, create awareness about anti-smoking regulations and arrange counseling services.

The smoking app is spreading like wildfire, last we heard.

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