Sharjah: A ban on the sale of tobacco products and cigarettes by grocery shops and supermarkets located in residential areas and near academic institutions has been imposed in Sharjah with immediate effect.

On December 10, a government circular was issued to cigarette vendors across the spectrum of commercial grocers and supermarkets.

While the announcement to prohibit the sale of tobacco products in the city of Sharjah was made by the Sharjah Municipal Council in April this year, the organisation was yet to work out an implementation strategy with the Sharjah Municipality, which is responsible for enforcing the ban.

Grocers said they are already experiencing a loss in revenue as cigarette sales were their main source of profit.

“There is no point of running a grocery shop if we cannot sell cigarettes,” a grocer who runs three shops in Al Taawun said.

Gulf News learnt that prior to the enforcement of the ban, grocery shops in residential neighbourhoods used to sell 60,000 to 75,000 cigarette packs a month. Many of them are now trying to dodge the ban by selling cigarettes only to known customers.

“We have been issued a circular on the ban. We do not want to take risks by stocking cigarette packs in the shop. Now, we have stored it all in another place. Only some brands of cigarettes packs are sold on the sly, not all. It’s too risky,” another grocer who runs a shop in a residential area in Al Khan said… see more

source: Gulfnews