Dubai has banned the smoking of shisha inside Iftar venues during the coming holy month of Ramadan.
Gulf News cited a Dubai Municipality official as confirming the move following a similar ban last year.
Shisha pipes will be banned at venues from the breaking of the fast at sunset until 9:00pm.
“The decision to ban shisha was implemented last year, and we are continuing to carry the ban again this year,” acting director of public health and safety department Dr Nassim Rafee was quoted as saying
“Iftar tents are usually filled with families, and because many of the elderly and children visit such venues, Dubai Municipality implemented the rule to ensure the health and well-being of all.”
The UAE’s federal laws dictate that food establishments have to obtain permission to allow the smoking of tobacco products on the premises. Hotel’s providing Ramadan tents must also provide separate entrances.
Last year, the country introduced a 100 per cent selective tax on tobacco products, making shisha and cigarettes significantly more expensive.
The use of shisha pipes has become a particularly popular evening pastime among some Muslims in the region during the holy month as they are unable to smoke during the day under fasting rules
Ramadan announcement expected
The UAE has yet to announce when the holy month will begin.
The beginning of Ramadan is decided by the Gulf countries based on the Islamic calendar, which is linked to the moon’s 29 and a half day monthly cycle.
Islamic months can be 29 or 30 days based on the appearance of the moon crescent at night.
Oman’s Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs said last Sunday that the country would mark the beginning of Ramadan on Thursday, May 17 due to concerns the moon would not be visible nationwide on Tuesday evening the next week
Astronomers in Kuwait and Sharjah have also indicated May 17 will be the likely start date for the month of Ramadan.
In March, Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences said Ramadan would likely fall on May 17 with Eid Al Fitr, marking the end of the month, expected on June 15.
Last week, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority announced shorter school hours for the holy month with students finishing classes by 1:30pm.
A similar announcement was made by the UAE Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) regarding public sector working hours. Staff will work from 9:00am to 2:00pm during the Ramadan period.