Smokers in Saudi Arabia puff away SR50m every day

Updated 26 January 2016

Smokers in Saudi Arabia puff away SR50m every day

JEDDAH: Over SR50 million goes up in smoke daily because of addiction to cigarettes in Saudi Arabia, let alone the thousands of deaths that occur every year due to smoking, the head of the anti-tobacco and anti-drugs organization has said.
“Only last year, as many as 23,000 people were killed due to smoking,” Sheikh Abdullah Al-Othaim, chairperson of Tobacco and Narcotics Combat Society, which is also known as Kafa (Enough), was quoted as saying by local media on Sunday.
Al-Othaim was speaking during the opening ceremony of the second annual Kafa Awareness Forum, conducted with the sponsorship of the Imam and preacher of the Grand Mosque, Sheikh Khalid Al-Ghamdi, at King Abdulaziz Conference Hall recently.
In his opening speech at the forum, he said that addicts impose great burden on their families and the country. “Kafa recently opened a specialized center for drug rehabilitation and care for addicts under the supervision of specialized doctors. The center represents a helping hand for Kafa in encouraging its programs and events in Makkah through its six branches,” he said.
He thanked the leaders of the Kingdom in general and Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed in particular for their support to Kafa.
Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Al-Ghamdi appreciated the programs offered by Kafa, and said that combating tobacco and narcotics addiction are as important as fighting terrorism and extremism in the country.


Lebanese luxury soap brand sees boost in sales amid pandemic

Updated 27 May 2020

Lebanese luxury soap brand sees boost in sales amid pandemic

DUBAI: In 1999, Syrian-Palestinian fragrance connoisseur Hana Debs Akkari pursued her passion project in Lebanon by founding a sophisticated soap company called “Senteurs d’Orient,” or “Fragrances of the East” in French.

Akkari envisioned that her handcrafted soaps would symbolize the beloved floral essences of the Middle East, particularly the Levant, which is reportedly the world’s oldest soap-making region.

With the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Akkari’s small, family-run luxury soap business has witnessed an increased demand in their natural products nearly twenty years since its founding.

Portrait of Sarah Akkari, CEO of Senteurs d’Orient. (Supplied)

“Since the pandemic was declared, we saw a spike in our online sales,” said Lebanese-Canadian and New Yorked-based Sarah Akkari, Hana’s daughter and CEO of Senteurs d’Orient, to Arab News. “People are washing their hands more often, and their hands are becoming drier as a consequence. So, they’re also looking for a natural soap, such as the ones we offer. Our antibacterial soaps are packed with different nourishing ingredients like glycerin, Shea butter and Vitamin E.”

Operating from Lebanon, Senteurs d’Orient’s factory is run by a diligent team of chemists and artisans, many of whom are women as female education and empowerment in the workforce is at the heart of the company’s ethos.

Engraving soaps at the Lebanon factory. (Supplied)

After mixing the chemical-free ingredients by hand, the soaps are air-dried for 10 ten days and later machine-molded and carefully hand-wrapped. True to the company’s name, the delicate floral scents of gardenia, jasmine, tuberose, and rose of Damascus draw their inspiration from eastern gardens.

To show support for the selfless medical workers, some of whom reached out to Akkari and expressed interest in Senteurs d’Orient’s soaps, she recently donated nearly 500 packages to doctors and nurses from four American hospitals — two in Los Angeles, one in New York and another in New Jersey.

Each package is an ‘Oriental Trio Box’, containing three bars of soap, the shapes and engravings of which are inspired by the decoration of ‘maamoul’, the Levant region’s quintessential pastry.

“When you’re facing this type of crisis and you’re receiving emails from doctors and nurses or anyone on the frontlines, it’s a not a request you can reject,” explained the 32-year-old entrepreneur. “It’s something that we really wanted to be part of and it brought us much satisfaction knowing we could contribute in this way.”

The company has expanded its international presence and line of therapeutic products, creating bath salts, multi-purpose oils and thinly sliced, single-use soap leaves. (Supplied)

Under the leadership of Akkari, the company has expanded its international presence and line of therapeutic products, creating Mediterranean orange blossom bath salts, multi-purpose oils and thinly sliced, single-use soap leaves of amber and tea flower.

It is the authenticity of Senteurs d’Orient’s products that Akkari hopes will come through.

“You feel the fragrance is coming straight from the flower,” she said.