Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat-The Secretary General of the anti-smoking society, Sulayman Bin Abdullah Al-Saaby, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the latest statistics provided by the World Health Organization indicate that 30,000 citizens of the Gulf region die annually as a result of smoking. He added that the statistic includes the population of all the Gulf States, which currently is estimated to be over 33 million people. Saudi”s population of 24 million suffers from the highest number of deaths caused by smoking, the number of which is 21,782.
Al-Saaby further added that, "the survey conducted by the World Health Organization in Saudi included 23.2% of citizens working in medical-related fields. It revealed, however, that 74.8% of them did not smoke, 11% had given up the habit whilst 14.2% were still regular smokers." Al-Saaby expressed his regret for this because of "their influential role in society in terms of advising citizens to look after their health."
Al-Saaby emphasized the importance of this fraction of society”s role in educating people about the potential dangers of smoking. He says that, "This division in particular can have the most impact on decreasing the number of smokers because people listen to them. As long as the number of smokers is gradually increasing especially amongst those in the medical professions, we should as citizens of the Gulf launch an emergency campaign to stop the dangerous expansion of tobacco companies, which target the youth by their marketing and research policies."
The Secretary General called upon anti-smoking campaign activists to multiply their efforts in a bid to decrease the number of smokers and limit the distribution of tobacco. The executive office of the Ministry of Health has emphasized the dangers of the increase in the number of smokers especially from within the medical professions in the Gulf, the most outstanding rise of which has taken place in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates where a third of medical professionals are smokers.