The CHAMPIONS of tobacco control …

It is obvious that many steps need to be taken to control the tobacco menace. In past articles I have written about many aspects of tobacco control and the challenges faced by the advocates for tobacco control.

Well in this article, I will present to you real champions. People of the community who have taken drastic actions to ensure that they play a role in controlling tobacco. They made these decisions on their free will and for good reason.

One of the very famous shops in Male’ is Luxury Shopping Centre situated at a prime location on Majeedhee Magu. This shop is known as

Violet Shop on Rhadhebaimagu do not sell cigarettes

a place where people can get a variety of goods and a place of foreign exchange. In the not too distant past, they also were a mayo seller of tobacco. Cartons of tobacco were displayed and a particular window to the road is where these packs and cartons traded hands and on a regular manner. About two years back, Luxury stopped selling cigarettes. Why? Well they declared that they were selling a product harmful to the people. Rewards and awards should be given to such champions, but Luxury humbly declined any awards saying that they did it for the public good. What a luxury to have the thought! Luxury has not dropped its sales and the shop still operates at full swing day and night and it is hard to get in.

Apart from Luxury and Violet Shop shown in the picture, the following shops have also stopped selling tobacco.

Evening Mart, Anees Shop, Thanbee Shop, Approach, Huan Mart, Puree and Daily Link 1 in Male’. Kaaky mart and Check Mate in Vilimale’. I would call them real champions. Monetary gain foregone for the public good.

Well those are the shops. Can we ban smoking in hotels (kada). The notion of this makes some people raise eyebrows and open their eyes wide. For many this would be an impossible task. An action if taken will cause public outcry. Or will it really?

There is one kada, namely Naasthaa Hotel who has declared themselves tobacco free. They do not sell tobacco nor do the allow people to smoke. This also used to be like a normal kada with lots of noise and lots of smoke. A brave decision. And the kada is not deserted at all. Just like before there still is a lot of noise but without the smoke. Sounds really cool! More kada’s should follow suit.

Now comes the modern coffee culture. For many people, entertainment is a coffee with a smoke. It is a common sight in most of the middle to higher range coffee shops around. It is more of a norm. Unfortunately, the smoke is causing a problem for the shop owner. Why? Sales are down! Really? Yes. Many coffee shops are now opting not to sell loose sticks available, the coffee goers are spending more time at the table fuming hence reducing turn over of clients. Also, a number of customers who do not smoke turn away. Unfortunately these coffee shops are designed to smoke.

Coffee without smoke

Now look at this! Would there be someone bold enough for a challenge? Change the coffee culture smokeless? Yes a new champion has emerged. Recently an exclusive coffee shop has been designed and opened smoke free. Cafe’ Ier, Home of the Italian Coffee is full of customers and a new coffee culture emerged. Well one that is smoke free. Three cheers to Cafe’ Ier.

The notion that smoking bans in cafe’s and restaurants will cause a down turn business is a false. Research elsewhere in the world shows that there has been no impact on the sales with smoking bans. The pubs, cafes and restaurants in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand has gone smoke free and even in countries like Sri Lanka, roads are becoming smoke free and all of these with legislation. If we have a will, here in the Maldives we can do better.


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5 Comments on "The CHAMPIONS of tobacco control …"

  1. Finikotaribe
    17/12/2011 at 18:05 Permalink

    It’s funny that you have mentioned Cafe’ Ier, by Euro Marketing Pvt Ltd. It has been designed as a showroom for Lavazza Coffee and it’s machines. It’s made under a strict guideline from Lavazza itself.

    The funniest bit is that Euro Marketing Pvt Ltd is taking up the world famous Marlboro agency-ship and would be doing it’s wholesaling from next year.

  2. afaal
    17/12/2011 at 20:08 Permalink

    When I wrote it I knew it was a showroom, but the point here is that coffee can be without tobacco.

    It was later that euro marketing has acquired the cigarette and wadhee has stopped imports.

    in future there will be more and more coffee shops without smoke.

    thanks for the contribution

  3. Hasan
    01/02/2012 at 10:28 Permalink

    Interesting article. Being away from Male’ for over a year I have not had the chance to notice this, nor have heard from my friends back home about the matter. I think it is an important step that the shops and “saihotaa”s took to curb smoking. Thank you for recognizing their efforts. I think the government should also do the same to motivate other people to follow in their footsteps.

    With regard to the modern cafes, I think it would be a good idea to have smoking areas designated that won’t bother the non-smokers. Perhaps some cafes might have already started practicing this. However, due to the space limitation in male’ I think it might be an issue.

    Another point that I want to inquire is , what about the anti-smoking laws that we heard about recently? If they haven’t been passed yet, what is the private health sector doing to push the law makers in to enforcing such laws? Here in Malaysia, there are certain laws which prevent people from smoking in certain areas. Recently, the state of Malacca passed a regulation prohibiting smoking in certain neighborhoods. Although such laws are open to debate, I think it would be a good idea to consider similar rules in Maldives.

  4. afaal
    01/02/2012 at 11:02 Permalink

    Thank you for the comment. The Tobacco Control Act is passed and ratified. Though I have to say it is a weak one with a number significant aspects left for regulations under the Law. The National Tobacco Control Committee has drafted and finalized the major regulations but it is being dragged without approval. When it comes to tobacco, there are the business lobbyist who are strong and with money. They can influence politically much stronger than the public health experts as you would also be aware. So its proving to be a major challenge to pass regulations that are of public health interest than lame trade excuses.

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