Government slammed for not raising tax on cigarettes

Updated 01 June 2013
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Government slammed for not raising tax on cigarettes

The anti-smoking society, Niqaa, is blaming the Ministry of Finance for the spread of smoking in the country because of its continued refusal to increase taxes on the import of tobacco. The ministry argues that if it did so smuggling will increase.
The issue was highlighted yesterday on the World Anti-Smoking Day under the slogan "No to ads, promotion and patronage of tobacco."
“The issue of price is the responsibility of the Finance Ministry, and it always comes up with the excuse that raising the price will encourage smuggling,” Society President Mohammad Jaber Alyamani said.
“This is because smokers will not buy if it costs up to SR 40 a packet. We have raised this issue with the ministry but it still has reservation, and says this will increase smuggling.”
Mohammad Al-Quhiess, former Shoura Council member, said in interviews that there is a strong tobacco lobby in the Kingdom.
He added that the resolve to fight spread of tobacco has been made by the Shuora Council and will be implemented soon.
He said the price of cigarettes in Saudi Arabia is the lowest in the world and taxes on tobacco are very low, something which encourages youngsters and adults to start and continue smoking. In Europe and South America the price of a packet of cigarettes can be as high as SR 40 but in Saudi Arabia, its just SR 5.
He said that tobacco companies in Saudi Arabia have become audacious, distributing cigarettes on the World Anti-Smoking Day on the Al Hamara Beach in Jeddah. He stressed that everybody has to take a strong and serious stand against smoking in Saudi Arabia, especially among young people. Statistics show that there are 6 million smokers in the kingdom, of which 600,000 are women.
“The percentage of smokers in boys schools in the Kingdom is more than 12 percent, whereas the percentage the world over is decreasing.
“The issue of financial support is a major hindrance facing the society, coupled with the lack of effective laws to stop smoking in public places such as airports, where one can find officers smoking under the 'no smoking' signs.”
He said the Health Ministry is playing its role and has an anti-smoking campaign and will sign an agreement with the society to increase efforts against smoking.


Salman Khan, Cuba Gooding Jr. to host discussions during Saudi Film Festival

Updated 21 March 2019
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Salman Khan, Cuba Gooding Jr. to host discussions during Saudi Film Festival

  • The six-day celebration of cinema is organized by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts
  • The Sharqiah Season, the first of 11 Saudi seasons of entertainment, will run until the end of the month

DHAHRAN: As part of Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province, the fifth Saudi Film Festival will feature Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Indian superstar Salman Khan.
The six-day celebration of cinema is organized by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA) in partnership with the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).
Khan recently announced in a video message that he will visit Ithra on Sunday as a guest of the film festival.
“Hello Saudi Arabia, assalamu alaikum,” he said in the video. “See you at Ithra on the 24th of March, InshaAllah.”
The actor is best known for his performances in blockbuster Hindi flicks such as “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, “Ek Tha Tiger” and its sequel “Tiger Zinda Hai.”
In “An Evening with the Stars,” Khan will talk about his lengthy Bollywood career as both a film star and a producer.
He has starred in more than 80 Bollywood films, and has produced more than 30 via his production company Salman Khan Films.
On Monday, Gooding Jr. will take to the stage to discuss his 30 years of experience as an actor.
The American is best known for his performances in “Jerry Maguire”, “A Few Good Men” and “Men of Honor.”
Gooding Jr. has played more than 85 roles over the course of his career. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Rod Tidwell in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire.”
Tickets to both events, as well as for the film festival as a whole, are available on Ithra’s website.
The Sharqiah Season, the first of 11 Saudi seasons of entertainment, will run until the end of the month, with more than 83 activities in nine cities.