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Saudi Arabia

Smoking addiction clinics in high demand

RIYADH: There has been a high demand in the Kingdom from people seeking help to give up smoking in the wake of the rise in tobacco prices announced recently by the government.
This is according to Anas Al-Hadi, a doctor at a clinic treating people for nicotine addiction. “Once a person stops smoking he may feel somewhat different because nicotine is no long in his body,” he was quoted as saying by a local publication on Wednesday.
“Some of the side effects of quitting include nervousness, headaches, anger, craving to smoke, sleeplessness, eating more and weight gain,” he said. However, these are temporary and last for only four weeks at most. Will power is crucial to successfully quit, he said.
Ali Al-Wadeh, general supervisor of the anti-smoking campaign of the Health Ministry, and secretary-general of the National Committee to Fight Tobacco, said the Kingdom was one of the first nations to ratify the World Health Organization’s (WHO) campaign against tobacco use.
He said the Kingdom launched its anti-smoking campaign in 2002, which is aimed at limiting the health effects of nicotine addiction.
The campaign is being supervised by the National Committee to Fight Tobacco, which includes two representatives from all ministries. The campaign organizers have also set up clinics throughout the Kingdom, including a mobile unit, to help people quit.
He said the Kingdom has also launched campaigns to end the illegal trade in tobacco products, the first Arab country to do so. There are also regulations sanctioned by the royal court to combat tobacco use.
Al-Wadehi said the increase in tobacco prices is a strategy backed by the WHO. Studies show that if retail prices of cigarettes are hiked by 10 percent this reduces the number of smokers in high-income countries by 4 percent. If it is raised by 8 percent in middle and low-income countries, this results in less teenagers smoking.
Those who want to stop smoking should access the site to get a free consultation.

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