Anti-smoking campaign to begin June 1

May 22, 2008

Governor of Jeddah Prince Mishaal bin Majid will inaugurate the third national anti-smoking campaign June 1 in Makkah Province, the Arab News reported today.

The campaign is being organized by the Anti-Smoking and Drugs Association for Makkah Province with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO). The theme this year is “The hope of the nation lies in its youth.”

Thousands of awareness publications will be given away to schools and government offices as part of the campaign, according to Abdullah Al-Othaim, chairman of the association. There will also be lectures specifically targeting women in an effort to stop the growing number of smoking women in the Kingdom.

In an article published on the website Tobacco.org, Dr. Abdullah Al-Baddah, director of the Tobacco Control Department at the Ministry of Health, said that Saudi Arabia ranks 23rd worldwide in terms of smokers per capita.

Each year Saudis smoke 40,000 tons of tobacco, Dr. Al-Baddah said, adding that approximately 600,000 Saudi women smoke.

Tobacco.org also reported that over six million people in the Kingdom spend around $1.3 billion (SR5 billion) annually, smoking around 15 billion cigarettes.

A single Saudi on average smokes 2,130 cigarettes each year. Nearly 23,000 people die in Saudi Arabia every year as a result of smoking-related diseases.

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