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UAE pushes for smoke-free policy.

Byline: Dubai

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The smoke-free policies implemented by the Dubai Health Authority will reduce passive smoke levels in public areas, improving community health and reducing demands on our health care system say local health professionals.

The new policies have been launched in the UAE, as part of the global stop smoking campaign, and local medical professionals are working with the Dubai Health Authority to ensure the UAE keeps up with the world's leading smoke-free countries, according to drug major Pfizer.

With at least 38,000 non-smokers dying each year in the US as a result of secondhand smoke, smoke-free policies are clearly the most effective approach to prevent harm from passive smoke.

Reducing costs incurred by the government in caring for people admitted to local hospitals for conditions caused by passive smoke exposure, and a reduction in costs of employer liability insurance, are some of the benefits experienced by countries enforcing smoke-free laws.

Passive smoke contains more than 4,000 substances -- 50 of which are known, or suspected, to cause cancer in humans, including carbon monoxide found in exhaust fumes and nicotine a chemical used in pesticide.

Exposure to passive smoke causes thousands of lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis each year in infants and children younger than 18 months, resulting in thousands of hospitalisations annually.

Local health professionals estimated that hundreds of children and adults were treated for illnesses directly related to passive smoke exposure in Dubai hospitals in 2007 costing the health system millions of UAE Dirhams.

Employers are also set to benefit financially, according to a health official. Experts say employer liability insurance premiums are lower when a workplace is smoke-free.

Smoke-free workplaces cost employers less because the employer liability insurance for workers exposed to passive smoke is reduced.

Insurance companies recognise a smoke-free workplace is a safer environment for everyone and pass the savings onto consumers.- TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Sep 7, 2008
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