10 million Saudi smokers by 2020

10 million Saudi smokers by 2020
Updated 03 June 2013

10 million Saudi smokers by 2020

10 million Saudi smokers by 2020

The number of Saudi smokers is expected to rise from the current 5 million to 10 million by 2020, according to the Saudi Diabetes and Endocrine Association in the Eastern Province.
It said the projected rise is based on the lack of awareness programs on the dangers of smoking in Saudi society. It said government should take drastic action to counter this trend because of the major health and economic costs associated with the addiction.
In a study published in a book entitled “Smoking in the Saudi Community” by Salman Al-Omari, it was found that 37.9 percent of Saudis said they were influenced by their peers to start smoking; 12.26 percent started on their own initiative; 22.61 percent were influenced by their parents and family members; and 16.21 said they started smoking to show more assertiveness among their peers.
On the occasion of “World No Tobacco Day” held by the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 31 every year, the association highlighted the message of the campaign, which calls for a ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. An estimated 15 billion cigarettes, worth up to $ 1.3 billion is sold in Saudi Arabia a year. The Kingdom is the fourth-highest importer of cigarettes and ranks 23 on the list of the world’s highest consumers of tobacco.
The head of the association, Abdulaziz Al-Turki, told a local newspaper that WHO has the best tools to help control tobacco use. “If we can manage to control the habit of smoking, we will be able to address many of the chronic diseases related to it, including cancer and heart disease.” He said WHO provisions are being sed by many countries around the world to protect their citizens. This includes raising cigarette prices, imposing constraints on advertising and sponsors, and placing warning messages on every pack of cigarettes.
Al-Turki said there should also be measures taken to ensure diabetes patients stop smoking.
The general secretary of the association, Kamel Salameh, urged all diabetes patients who are smokers to enroll in a program to help them quit the deadly habit.