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POEA warns OFWs on Qatar’s law vs tobacco, cigarette-related items

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration building. Photo from www.poea.gov.ph

To overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Qatar: Don’t even think about bringing cigarettes with you.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) warned OFWs that Qatar has now banned all tobacco derivatives, equipment and other materials related to tobacco usage.

In an advisory, the POEA cautioned Filipino workers that they may be subjected to legal liability if they are found to be in possession of the banned items upon entering Qatar.

“OFWs are advised to be wary of these prohibitions and should never attempt to carry any of these banned products when travelling to Qatar,” the agency said.

The Embassy of Qatar earlier advised the POEA of the said ban on tobacco products as well as equipment or materials in producing or using tobacco.

Among the banned items are: chewing tobacco in any form; electronic cigarette, electronic shisha, and any product similar to it or made in any form of tobacco;

Swaika (substance made from tobacco products and that can be taken by absorption, chewing or inhalation); cigarette machines; and advertising, promotion, or sponsorship materials that seek to introduce any tobacco product.

OFWs who will insist on bringing with them the said banned items may risk being imprisoned and fined.

“OFWs and other passengers entering the State of Qatar will be subject to legal liability if found in possession of banned tobacco derivatives, equipment, and other materials in relation to tobacco usage,” the POEA said.

The ban stemmed from Qatar’s Law No. 10 of 2016 on the Control of Tobacco and its Derivatives, which provides strict measures to curb the import and use of tobacco products.

Under the said law, those found violating the relevant articles may face a prison term not exceeding six months and a fine not exceeding QR100,000. /jpv

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