It has been reported that this August Dubai Municipality will be taking measures towards reducing the number of smokers in the UAE. These measures include applying a tax on the price of cigarettes and other smoking products, which will approximately double the price of smoking, and covering cigarette packaging and other smoking equipment with graphic images warning of the dangers of smoking.
- A study was conducted by YouGov to examine smoking habits and the effect that the proposed measures may have on smokers’ habits.
- Approximately a third (35%) of people in the UAE smoke and just under a fifth (18%) smoke every day.
- Five times the number of males claim to smoke everyday (27%) compared to females (5%).
- Arab Expats smoke much more than any other segment with over a fourth (28%) claiming they smoke every day.
- Significantly more of those who are working (22%) claim to smoke everyday than those who are not working (8%).
- Furthermore, significantly more people in the lowest income bracket claim to smoke every day than those in the highest income bracket.
On a more promising note, three quarters (74%) of smokers state they want to quit smoking. This is particularly true of those between 18 and 29 years old.
When asked about how the increase in the price of smoking products will affect their smoking habits, reactions were mostly positive. Just under a third (31%) claim it will encourage them to try to stop smoking and a further 24% state it will encourage them to reduce the amount they smoke. However, just over a third (35%) claim it will not have any impact on their smoking habit. Male respondents are more positive about the effect it will have, with a third (32%) claiming it will encourage them to stop smoking, compared with a quarter (25%) of females.
Responses were very similar about how graphic warning images on the packaging of smoking products will affect their smoking habit; with a third (32%) saying it will encourage them to stop smoking and a a quarter (26%) saying it will encourage them to reduce the amount they currently smoke. However, it appears this method may be slightly less effective since just over two-fifths (42%) of respondents claim it will not have any impact on their smoking habit.
It would appear that the Municipality is taking steps in the right direction; however, a fifth (20%) of smokers state it will take a family member or friend falling ill from the effects of smoking to have the greatest effect in reducing the amount they smoke themselves. This is followed by just under a fifth (17%) who state that a large increase in the price of tobacco products will have the greatest effect and just under a sixth (14%) who say help from a healthcare professional will be the most effective method. Only 5% say graphic warning images on tobacco products will have the greatest effect in reducing the amount they smoke.
This survey was conducted using the YouGov online panel in the MENA region and the results are based on the responses of 759 respondents in the UAE.