Many Arabs abstain from alcohol, but their tobacco consumption tends to be high. That makes their governments unhappy. In the Arab world, cigarettes invariably are proffered to friends, visitors, and casual acquaintances. Now Arab governments are cracking down. The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia have doubled their import duties on tobacco, and many Gulf states require explicit health warnings on cigarette advertisements. Bahrain is taking even stronger measures: It plans to ban cigarettes that fail to meet tar and nicotine tests. Other Gulf countries are watching.
Some industry sources think all cigarette advertising may be banned in the Gulf within a year.m