Abu Dhabi/Dubai: The UAE Cabinet Monday approved warnings on cigarette packets with a graphic picture covering about half of the packet.

It also bans tobacco companies from using “smooth, “silky”, “light” or similar words to describe the product. Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Acting Minister of Health, said the regulation will be enforced once approved at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) level. It is part of the UAE anti-tobacco executive bylaw, he said. He did not give a deadline when this will be enforced.

Dr Wedad Al Maidour, head of the tobacco control committee, welcomed the move, saying that graphic images send a strong message to smokers. She called it a “great achievement”. The next step is to have plain, white packs without any labelling as in Australia and the UK, she said.