A Sharjah-based hotel has become one of the first destinations in the UAE to introduce a non-smoking zone on its beach after complaints from guests about the number of cigarette butts in the sand.
Coral Beach Resort, located 15 minutes from Sharjah International Airport, will put up signs today directing guests to smoking and non-smoking sections, which will also protect guests from second-hand smoke, the hotel said.
“It is not as much the smoke, as the cigarette butts,” Jean Pierre Simon, regional general manager for Coral Hotels & Resorts in the northern emirates told sister title Arabian Business.
“Last week we had a cocktail hour with our guests and one or two of the ladies came to me and said they were fed up with cigarette butts on the sand. It’s difficult to do on the beach, but we are putting up what look like road signs to direct people.
“At the moment it’s a trial, we will see how it goes, but I will keep it up for as long as I can. We have had very good comments so far.”
UAE businesses and government officials have made several steps towards reducing smoking in public places, in a bid to create a tobacco-free nation.
In 2009, the Dubai government banned individuals from having shisha in parks, beaches and all public recreational areas, and previously considered introducing indoor smoking sections in those areas to prevent people from lighting up at all.
An federal anti-tobacco law issued in 2010 also gave cafes and restaurants located in residential neighbourhoods two years to either move orban smoking, while non-residential outlets were required to create designated smoking areas.
Last year, media reports said the government would make smoking more expensive in the UAE, which currently sells cigarettes much more cheaply than its neighbour states.
Other Gulf countries have also taken a stricter approach when it comes to legislation. Bahrain said in 2009 it would issue fines for those found smoking in their cars in front of children, and Kuwait introduced a blanket ban on shisha smoking in public places earlier this month, which included hotels, restaurants and cafes.
Saudi Arabia is thought to be mulling anti-smoking legislation in the future.