Anyone who has frequented the bar and lounge area of Zuma, located in the business hub of DIFC, will know of the pungent aroma of cigars that slaps you in the face the moment you step inside. For some this gentleman’s club vibe is comforting, however, it seems, for an overwhelming majority the smell has been dissatisfying causing the popular post-work venue to enforce a cigar smoking ban.

The ban will come as a huge shock and disappointment for the professional crowd that visit Zuma, which has been credited as one of the most successful restaurant, bar and lounge concepts in the Middle East. With many venues in the UAE having already imposed smoking bans, Zuma was seen as a haven for the tobacco-loving community wanting to unwind after a stressful day in the rat race. But with the ban effective immediately it seems they will have to light up back at home. Cigarette smokers need not worry, for now at least, as smoking the white sticks is still allowed.

A source said: “This move follows the ban on cigar smoking in the bar and lounge areas during lunch service that was introduced by the Zuma team in April 2013 and the Dubai Government’s anti-tobacco law that came into effect on January 21, 2014.”

Ajaz Sheikh, Managing Director of Zuma Middle East and Turkey said of the action: “Whilst we don’t wish to intentionally alienate any of our guests, it was becoming increasingly hard to justify cigar smoking in the Zuma bar and lounge in the evenings, with a growing number of complaints, especially from females.”

“Irrespective, of government laws, I felt it was necessary to lead the way in terms of banning cigars in all areas of Zuma at all times of day and I’m confident that other fine-dining venues will follow,” he added. “It will be interesting to see how quickly Dubai falls into line will with other global culinary centres in terms of anti-smoking legislation.”