Bahrain targets smokers in new campaign
Manama, August 7, 2012
Tobacco retailers in Bahrain will this week start importing cigarette packets with graphic warnings about the dangers of smoking, after its approval by the six Gulf states in a bid to encourage customers to kick the habit.
Retailers have also been given six months to get rid of their existing stock as part of GCC-wide efforts to combat the use of tobacco.
The new decision will be effective starting Thursday and no imports without the image will be allowed into the country.
The visual health warnings include horrific images of smoking hazards, such as the deterioration of organs and harmful effects on pregnant women, which will also be placed on sheesha tobacco packs.
"Bahrain is committed to the GCC health regulation set regarding tobacco products which has been adopted by the law, by the Industry and Commerce Ministry in February this year," said Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi in a statement.
"The Health Ministry will work with the Industry and Commerce Ministry along with Customs officials to ensure the regulation is applied through a mechanism that has been agreed upon."
No new shipments of tobacco products will be allowed into the country without inspections by the authorities concerned, according to the regulation.
A warning that smoking causes lung cancer and heart diseases will also be printed on the front of the packet in both Arabic and English.
Al Shehabi said the new regulation will be applied on cigarettes, cigars and tobacco used for sheesha.
"The warning area should not be less than 50 per cent of the basic display area on the lower part of the package - front and back for the image. While the warning in writing should be not more than 40 per cent of the total area," he said.
The Gulf Standardisation Organisation (GSO) took five years to reach a consensus on implementing the unified regulation for the import of tobacco products into the region related to Labelling of Tobacco Product Packages.
In 2009, an anti-smoking law was ratified by His Majesty King Hamad which banned smoking in indoor public places, including restaurants, cafes, hotels and hair salons, and on public transport and in private cars - where there are children.
It further forbids planting, manufacturing or reprocessing of tobacco in Bahrain as well as importing chewable tobacco-based products and other tobacco-based substances unlicensed by the Health Ministry. – TradeArabia News Service