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9-year-old UAE boy seeks to quit smoking

An Emirati boy aged around nine years is making regular visits to the government anti-smoking centre in Fujairah in a bid to quit his smoking habit, according to a health official in the emirate.

The boy is among hundreds of visitors to the centre seeking help to give up smoking and most of them are aged between 11 and 21 years, said Dr Aysha Suhail, acting director of the primary health care centres in Fujeirah.

The number of those registered in the anti-smoking centre jumped to nearly 357 in 2010 from only 89 in the previous year while those making regular visits to the centre surged to 669 from 158 in the same period, she said.

“Most of the visitors to the centre for combating smoking are aged between 11 and 21 years….but we have a unique case of a smoking boy aged only nine years,” she said, quoted by Arabic language newspapers.

Dr Suhail said the centre is planning to launch a three-year strategy to expand services to the public ahead of an anti-smoking law to be enforced in 2012.

She said the law involves punitive measures against smoking in banned places, with fines ranging from Dh2,000 to Dh16,000, adding the measures also include imprisonment. “Cafes face stiffer penalties as those which offer shisha (hookah) to customers without permission could be shut down.”

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