Dubai bans pregnant women from shisha cafes

The campaign poster showing a foetus telling its mother: Smoking is your choice - not mine Image copyright Facebook/Dubai Municipality
Image caption Many women already choose to avoid smoke-filled venues during pregnancy

Dubai has banned pregnant women from entering shisha cafes, even if they have no intention of smoking themselves, it's reported.

The move is part of a new public health campaign aimed at restricting expectant mothers to smoke-free areas, the Gulf News website says. Door-sized posters publicising the campaign have been plastered on cafe entrances across the emirate where people go to smoke the distinctive hookah pipes, and feature a pregnant women being told by her unborn baby: "Smoking is your choice! Not mine". The posters also make clear under-18s and mothers with young children are not allowed inside.

"This is not up for negotiation," Marwan Al Mohammed, director of Dubai's Public Health and Safety Department, tells the site. He says that managers have complained of being powerless to stop pregnant women from entering in the past. "Since there were no official rules regarding this matter, the women were able to enter, since it was their right as a customer to enter the premises."

In 2014, tougher national tobacco laws came into force across the United Arab Emirates, banning tobacco advertising and making it illegal to smoke in a car if a child under the age of 12 is present. New rules were also adopted setting a minimum distance between shisha cafes and residential areas, schools and places of worship.

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