Smoking to be Banned on Dubai Balconies?

Smoking to be Banned on Dubai Balconies?

24 Feb 2015

Following the fire at The Torch tower, smoking on balconies could be a thing of the past

While the aftermath of The Torch fire plays out – with a carelessly discarded cigarette being marked as a potential cause – local policies on fire precautions may be tightened.

This week, some JLT residents received notice from their Owners Association regarding cigarette hazards. One notice from Wasl Owners Association Management (WOAM) to Bonnington residents read: “In light of the recent fire incident at Torch Tower, Dubai Marina, we request you to take note of the fire safety advisory for the safety of all residents. Owners are requested to inform their tenants of the same and ensure compliance against the same as necessary.”

The notice listed the following guidelines:

1. Smoking is not permitted on the balconies and we request smokers to use an ashtray or dispose any lit cigarettes in a safe manner.

2. Please do not dispose or throw cigarette butts from your balcony as this has a strong potential to start a major fire. Ash trays are available on the podium for the safe disposal of cigarettes and we request you to use the same.

3. Smoking inside closed apartments may not be safe and may activate the smoke alarms in the apartment.

Ahlan! has requested clarification of these guidelines, regarding whether ashtrays are supplied for indoor use only, despite the issue smoking may cause with alarm systems.

The notice follows the blaze at the Torch tower in Dubai Marina in the early hours of Saturday 21 February with the WOAM spokesperson citing a cigarette as a possible cause for the fire: “Over the weekend, Torch Tower, Dubai Marina suffered a lot of property damage as a result of the fire that had occurred. Fortunately there was no loss of life reported and Dubai Civil Defence was successful in bringing the fire incident under control within two hours. Preliminary reports in the media indicate that the fire was potentially caused due to a lit cigarette and we await further confirmation on the same from the authorities.”

It seems smoking is increasingly becoming an issue for Dubai residents. A recent Dubai Municipality initiative saw a 3m-high sandcastle created in Mamzar Beach Park embellished with cigarette butts to raise awareness about littering on Dubai’s beaches.

The image – posted on Dubai Municipality’s Instagram account – was accompanied by the message: “Have you checked out the Cigarettes #Sandcastle on #AlMamzar #Beach? Every day, thousands of people use #Dubai's beaches as an ashtray and this is where our children play. We need to put a stop to this.”

Littering the beaches of Dubai can land you with a Dhs500 fine which can be doubled – and tripled – for reoffenders. Do the decent thing and discard your cigarettes butts safely. It may save you money – it may even save lives.