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Health Ministry launches anti-smoking campaign

Smoking causes 16.3% of cancer cases in GCC

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday launched an awareness campaign on the dangers of tobacco, in cooperation with the National Anti-Smoking Program. Vice President of the Health Ministry’s National Anti-smoking Program Dr Ahmad Al-Shatti said during the campaign that the ministry is working to reduce the number of smokers due to its negative effects on human health.

Al-Shatti noted that smoking is not a “masculine behavior and includes both genders,” which calls for raising the level of awareness as well as control of sales of tobacco, prevent smoking in public places, and stop advertising and promoting it. Head of the Health Promotion Department and member of the National Anti-Smoking Program Dr Abeer Al-Bahou stated that tobacco harms “our health as well as the planet, adding that the campaign aims to encourage governments to end tobacco cultivation and switch to more sustainable crops that support farmers to improve food security and nutrition.”

Mariam Al-Otaibi

Meanwhile, chairman of Kuwait Society for Smoking and Cancer Control Dr Khalid Ahmed Al-Saleh launched a press conference in which member of the board of directors of Kuwait Society for Smoking and Cancer Control and member of the National Anti-Smoking Program Dr Hussa Majed Al-Shaheen spoke jointly with Dr Maryam Abdul Mohsen Al-Otaibi, member of the board of directors and in-charge of the smoking cessation clinic at the Kuwait Society for Smoking and Cancer Control, on the occasion of World Anti-Smoking Day.

They said the spread of smoking in Kuwait poses a great danger to the health of citizens and significantly hinders health development. A previous study published in the American Library showed smokers in Kuwait reached 49.9 percent among men and 4.4 percent among women, while the number of smokers who continue to smoke in Kuwait is 39.2 percent among men and 3.3 percent among women.

A study on the relationship between smoking and cancer conducted in GCC countries, including Kuwait, revealed 16.3 percent of cancer cases are related to smoking, and that the most common cancers associated with smoking are lung cancer, followed by bladder cancer and colorectal cancer.  Dr Shaheen and Dr Otaibi indicated that smoking in Kuwait has become a direct danger to families, especially after the spread of electronic cigarettes and misunderstanding about its dangers.

Hussa Al-Shaheen

A comparative study revealed the percentage of smoking among primary education students in Kuwait is 28.8 percent compared to 9.3 percent in Oman, which reflects the danger of smoking, its spread among adolescents and the need to intensify educational programs that promote health culture among young people in Kuwait to combat tobacco in all its forms among students. Dr Shaheen and Dr Otaibi concluded their statement by saying studies have shown the risk of smoking increases among university students, as a study published in 2020 showed the rate of smoking cigarettes and shisha among university students in Kuwait is 46 percent, compared to 42.3 percent in Saudi Arabia.

Dr Saleh said the society prepared a list of activities to celebrate World Anti Smoking Day, including lectures by specialists in cooperation with the education and social affairs ministries, in addition to an exhibition to spread awareness about smoking and TV and newspaper interviews. He said a seminar will be held on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes on May 31.— KUNA

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