Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, president of the UAE, yesterday signed a legislative bill which restricts smoking venues across the country and bans all types of advertisements and the promotion or sponsorship of tobacco products.
The European Union enforced similar legislation in 2005, which brought an end to all tobacco-related advertising in consumer print titles and newspapers. Outdoor, TV and radio advertising had already been outlawed due to their potential to influence children.
Tobacco companies have since sought new opportunities in sporting events such a Formula 1, branding cars with their livery. The practice has been banned at races in countries affected by the anti-smoking laws.
Despite a fall in popularity elsewhere in the world, brands from tobacco giants such as British American Tobacco and Philip Morris still hold strong appeal in the Middle East.
An anti-smoking commitee will be created to implement the law in the UAE, though a start date for its enforcement is not yet established.