Saudi Arabia receives global anti-smoking award

Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah receives a global health award on behalf of the Kingdom from the World Health Organization (WHO) president, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, in Geneva. (Photo/Social media)
Updated 24 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia receives global anti-smoking award

  • The Kingdom ratified the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005
  • The Kingdom’s efforts in reducing trans fats levels in the food industry was also praised

RIYADH: The Saudi health minister, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, received a global health award on behalf of the Kingdom for its excellence and leading role in combating smoking in Geneva on Wednesday, at the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly.
Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to ratify the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, an ambitious strategic tobacco control plan to reduce smoking rates from 12.7 percent to 5 percent by 2030.
The assembly also praised the Kingdom’s efforts in reducing trans fats levels in the food industry, in accordance with the WHO’s goal to eradicate the use of synthetic trans fats by 2023.
The Kingdom also received two Healthy Cities Accreditation Certificates from the WHO for work done in the cities of Onaiza and Riyadh Al-Khubara. The pair join Ad Diriyah, Jalajel and Al-Jumum as WHO accredited healthy cities, and their certificates were collected by the undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hani Jokhadar, who extended his thanks to Al-Rabiah for his continued work in supporting the healthy cities program.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 16 June 2019
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.