Ras Al Khaimah has become the latest emirate in the United Arab Emirates to ban smoking in public places.
The regulation, which went into effect on Sunday, applies to hotels, restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, sports halls, men and women’s salons and other enclosed public places. Designated smoking rooms will be set aside in hotels and shopping malls.
Individuals who violate the smoking ban will be fined $1,300 or more, said Mubarak Ali Al Shamsi, chairman of Ras Al Khaimah Municipality.
A 2002 World Health Organization (WHO) study found the Middle East more tolerant of smoking than most other regions, and UAE Ministry of Health figures indicate that 48 percent of people in the emirates smoke.
The neighboring emirates of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi have already successfully enforced a ban on smoking — normal cigarettes, cigars and hookahs — in public places.