Price hikes or gory graphics, a-third of UAE smokers will puff away

Skeptism over proposed government steps to encourage people to quit smoking are abound, with a third answering that it will not lead them to quit the habit. 

Over a third of the UAE smoking population does not believe that government steps towards making smoking more difficult will encourage them to quit smoking.

This conclusion came last month as a result of a research conducted to examine smoking habits and the effect that the proposed measures may have on smokers’ habits by Middle East-based research center of public opinion YouGov. 

Among the 759 respondents questioned, 35 per cent claimed that the measures would not have any impact on their smoking habit.

Meanwhile, 31 per cent claimed that it would encourage them to try to stop smoking, and a further 24 per cent claimed it would encourage them to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke.

In August this year steps might be taken by the government towards reducing the number of smokers. There are plans on the table to double tax prices, and tobacco merchandisers and will be obliged to distribute packages displaying graphics that indicate the negative effects of the habit.

The pictures proposed are a child suffering from passive smoking, a pregnant woman, and a snake curled around the package.

“This will not encourage me to quit smoking,” says VM, a Bulgarian woman who says she smokes around 30 cigarettes a day. “I like smoking, and I do not want to quit.

“I do find the graphics disturbing. But I can put my cigarettes in a substitute box. I am sure these will be marketed by the times such a measure is taken.”

Kamran Awan, Pakistani, who smokes around 13-15 cigarettes a day is more positive towards the measure and says: “I would be very happy if somebody would try to help me to quit smoking. It is an addiction. I have tried so many times to quit, but I cannot get rid of it.”

However, he doubts whether it would actually help. “I don’t think I will quit smoking because I do not like the graphics on a pack. It needs more than that.”

According to the research, approximately 35 per cent of people in the UAE smoke and 18 per cent of people in the UAE smoke every day.

There are five times more male than female smokers in the UAE. However, male smokers showed more confident in the proposed anti-smoking measures than women with a rate of 32 to 25 per cent.

Furthermore, the largest segment of smokers in terms of nationality are Arab residents, and working residents make up a larger part of the smoking population than non-workers.


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