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November 08, 2022
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
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, and cultural and education rights. According to Article 3 of 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.
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 the “Health Rights” of children under 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
Under Article 63 of 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 a minimum of AED 15,000 or either of these penalties.
Additionally, any person who smokes in the presence of a child, whether in a public or a private transportation means or an indoor place, will be liable to fines. Violation of Article 21/2 would be punishable with fines of a minimum of AED 5,000. This has been prescribed under Article 62 of Wadeema’s Law.
Prohibition of the sale of tobacco to minors in the UAE is a vital step in ensuring that the health of children is protected.
The above information might not apply if both parties are non-muslim. Starting from the 1st of February 2023, UAE issued specific family law to be applied between non-muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.