United Arab Emirates to Boost Cigarette Prices from August

May 7th, 2012 00:00

The price of cigarettes in Dubai will increase from Dh8 to Dh16 starting August 2012. The given increase will be in the form of a tax introduced by the Dubai Municipality. This action is intended to make more complicated for youngsters to purchase cigarettes, stated Wedad Al Maidoor, chief of tobacco control at the Ministry of Health. “This is good news. I will make the United Arab Emirates a initiator in the region, and others will likely follow the example. Teenagers will not be able to buy it as it will be too costly.”

According to estimates about 17% of Dubai residents are heavy smokers, men are five times likely to light up than women, and approximately 11% of youngsters consume smoking products.

The mean price of a pack of cigarettes in a store is Dh8, of which Dh4 is duty. Petrol stations charge a one dirham more. Even if the prices will be increased, they will be lower than in the UK, where smoking products are available at about Dh42.

The UAE passes a 100% customs duty on all imported cigarettes, but the amount is so small that consumer’s even do not observe it, Dr Al Maidoor stated.

“It the tax is introduced, a part of it would be used for fighting tobacco use, including educational initiatives. However it is a very complicated process as each emirate has its own customs port and wants to pass its own rules,” stated Dr. Al Maidoor.

price of cigarettes in Dubai

A great number of smokers stated that the price increase would make them light up rarely, but at the same time it wouldn’t urge them to stop smoking.

“In fact it would make me feel more special. I would appreciate the cigarette more and enjoy it,” said Hassan Khaleel, an IT consultant.

Others said that they would find a way to purchase cigarettes at cheaper price.

“I will just have to purchase more smoking products from duty free stores, or economy packs from other emirates. If government officials want to make a real difference, the regulation should be implemented countrywide,” said Mohammed Ali, a Palestinian.

Health experts approved the increase, being an essential step to fight tobacco use, which is the main cause of severe diseases.

“There are two main factors to decrease smoking. One is to prevent the second-hand smoking, and the second is taxation. Here in UAE people start smoking at 11 or 18 years, so taxation has a possibility to produce an effect,” stated Professor Sydney Smith, president of the World Heart Federation (WHO).

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