Cheap cigarette prices in KSA blamed for high number of smokers

Updated 26 July 2014

Cheap cigarette prices in KSA blamed for high number of smokers

Some 13 percent of Saudi male students and 5 percent of female students are smokers, said an expert citing data released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The Kingdom loses SR5 billion annually as a result of the negative effects of smoking and thanks to the fact that the price of cigarettes in the Kingdom is the lowest globally, which makes it easier for youth to get hooked,” Mohamed Al-Maiuf, executive director of the Anti-Smoking Society (Naqa), told a local daily.
“A packet of cigarettes is sold for SR8 here compared with more than SR50 in tobacco-producing countries in Europe and the United States,” he said.
“A 10-percent increase in the price of tobacco products could curb consumption by 4 percent in developed countries and 8 percent in developing countries. In fact, tobacco-related death could be reduced by as much as 25 percent if a 70 percent price hike is implemented.”
Naqa aims to spread an anti-smoking culture and create a smoke-free environment in public places, in addition to entering into partnership with companies to enhance anti-smoking initiatives.
“Men and women in the Kingdom have been effectively bombarded by tobacco campaigns that must be fought. Regulations banning the sale of tobacco to children under the age of 18 must be implemented.”
“Anti-smoking clinics have helped people of all age groups quit smoking, from an 11-year-old boy to a 70-year-old woman,” he said.

Saudi firefighters douse Al-Azizah forest fire, no injuries reported

Updated 10 min 9 sec ago

Saudi firefighters douse Al-Azizah forest fire, no injuries reported

  • A number of Ethiopian nationals had been arrested on suspicion of setting the forest on fire following a dispute, says Interior Ministry

RIYADH/ABHA: Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense has put out a fire in the Al-Azizah Mountains in Alsouda Heights near Abha, the administrative capital of Asir Region.

According to Civil Defense’s Twitter account, the firefighters controlled the fire and prevented it from spreading despite the rugged terrain in which the fire broke out. 

Lt. Col. Mohammad Al-Hammadi, Civil Defense spokesman, told Arab News that firefighters made great efforts to reach the area where the blaze had spread using state-of-the-art equipment to contain the fire.

“No one was injured, thanks to the swift action of the firefighters who helped protect the vegetation of this area. The firefighters are working now to cool down the area and combing down the area to ensure the fire has been controlled and contained,” he said.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in Asir said that the Al-Maghda water plant was put at the discretion of firefighters to help them fight the fire, according to Abdullah Al-Wimni, the director of the ministry’s branch in Asir, and Muhammad Al-Haidan the director of the Department of Water Services in Asir. Both said in a statement that 20 water tankers were used by the Civil Defense firefighters.

The Ministry of Interior spokesman said an investigation into last week’s fire in the Ghulamah Mountains in Tanuma governorate, north of Asir, indicated that three border violators caused the blaze, which destroyed an area of more than 4.7 million square meters before it was brought under control by the Saudi Civil Defense team.

According to an Interior Ministry spokesman on Wednesday, the suspects were Ethiopian nationals who set fire to the area following a dispute and fled. They have since been arrested and referred to the authorities for legal action.

Tens of thousands of perennial trees — including wild olives, neems, junipers and acacias — some of which were more than 50 years old — were also destroyed.

The operation was carried out under the direct supervision of the Asir governor with the participation of all government and civil services, as well as teams from Al-Namas and Tanuma governorates.