My Letters – Gulf News – Dt. 07.04.2010 – Move smokers away from UAE mall entrances
Shoppers are being forced to inhale second-hand smoke at malls and near designated smoking areas causing health fears
By Bashir Mohammad Hijas, Gulf News Reader
I have been noticing a problem which I think should be highlighted in a community report.
My issue is with the “designated smoking area” in shopping malls. The entrance from the parking lots to the malls is often dotted with smokers, who fill up the air with exhaled smoke and endanger passers-by.
The designated area is in a place where [it affects everyone], including women and children. Often, this location is either not adequately ventilated or not ventilated at all, and the low roofs of the parking areas prevent the exhaled smoke from rising up in the air.
Thus, the exhaled smoke and its smell lingers in the area for a long period of time.
Most importantly, this smoke endangers the health of passers-by due to the passive smoking effect.
There are several suggested remedial actions:
• Relocate the designated smoking area to a secluded place, away from the exit and entrance gates, so that it does not affect non-smokers.
• Build a glass wall around the smoking area to contain the smoke.
• Install heavy-duty smoke suckers, to trap the exhaled smoke. This would prevent others from inhaling exhaled smoke.
— The reader is a business analyst, in Dubai.
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My Comments as follows:
I thank Mr. Bashi Mohammed Hijas for highlighting this issue of smokers crowding the entrance of the malls. It is a common scene, not only for malls, but other office buildings, whether you are in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. I had highlighted a similar situation happening in Abu Dhabi through one of Community report dated 06 April 2009 (strange!!). I followed it up vigorously with the authorities including mall managements and replies received were not promising as they had to find solution for a separate smoking area, rooms etc, which are costly. Rather than the amount of smoke inhaled while one pass by, I was concerned about the temptation, the younger generation gets by watching grown up men and women smoking away fumes waiting in front of the malls. It is a dangerous precedence and it will create an instinctive attraction to try for a cigarette in young minds. Authorities have to find solutions to these exhibitionism outside the premises as and when they introduce control measures to stop smoking inside malls and building.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
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