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In the UAE, selling tobacco to individuals who are below eighteen years old is prohibited. This prohibition is governed by the Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 On Child’s Rights, also known as Wadeema’s Law.
Overview of Wadeema’s Law
The Wadeema’s Law protects the overall rights of the child, including his fundamental rights of life, security and care, family rights, health rights, social rights, cultural and education rights. Pursuant to Article 3 of the Wadeema’s Law, the rights of the children are protected without any discrimination as to the origin, sex, home country, religion, social status or disability of any child.
The Wadeema’s Law essentially aims to protect the physical, mental and emotional psyche of a child against all forms of discrimination and abuse and further imposes the onus on the community, especially physicians, educators, health care workers and other members of the society, to mandatorily report instances of child negligence.
As part of “Health Rights” of children under the Wadeema’s Law, Article 21/1 of the law prohibits selling or attempting to sell tobacco or tobacco products to children. The seller is entitled to ask the purchaser to provide evidence of reaching the age of eighteen.
Not just tobacco, Article 21/2 also prohibits smoking by an adult in public and private transportation and indoor places in the presence of a child.
Punishments for Selling Tobacco to Children
In accordance with Article 63 of the Wadeema’s Law, any person who sells or attempts to sell tobacco or tobacco products to a child will be liable to penalties. The penalties include imprisonment for at least 3 months and fines of minimum AED 15,000 or either of these penalties.
Article 63 of the Wadeema’s Law is set out below.
“Whoever violates the provisions of Clauses 1 and 3 of Article (21) hereof shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not less than three months and/or a fine not less than AED (15,000) fifteen thousand.”
Additionally, any person who smokes in the presence of a child, whether in a public or a private transportation means or in an indoor place, will be liable to fines. Violation of Article 21/2 would be punishable with fines of AED 5,000. This has been prescribed under Article 62 of the Wadeema’s Law, which states as follows.
“Whoever violates the provisions of Clause 2 of Article (21) hereof shall be punished by a fine not less than AED (5,000) five thousand.”
Prohibition of sale of tobacco to minors in the UAE is a vital step in ensuring that the health of the children is protected.