KuwaitOther News

Smoking kills around 3,000 people in Kuwait every year

By Abdellatif Sharaa

KUWAIT: Chairman of Kuwait Society for Preventing Smoking and Cancer (KSSCP) and Chairman of Cancer Aware Nation (CAN) Dr Khalid Al-Saleh said smoking contributes to the death of nearly 3,000 people every year in Kuwait. This represents 25 percent of annual mortalities of 209 per 100,000 people, equivalent to 12,380 death cases in 2020.

During the opening of the “Gaining health and fighting smoking in Ramadan” program organized by CAN in cooperation with the smoking fighting team at KSSCP, Dr Saleh said the program, which will continue until the 20th of Ramadan, aims at urging smokers to stop smoking and encouraging them to exercise.

Dr Khalid Al-Saleh speaks during the function.

Dr Saleh said studies showed the financial burden of smoking in the Gulf is 1 percent of the GDP of these countries. Bearing in mind that Kuwait’s GDP is around KD 41 billion, then 1 percent equals KD 401 million, which is a huge amount the country spends annually on the harm smoking causes to people. He said if we succeed in adopting awareness programs that are financially supported and increase cigarette prices by 50 percent, we can prevent more than 1,000 deaths annually and reduce the financial cost for the health ministry by nearly 33 percent.

Dr Saleh said as an encouragement for participants, each individual who succeeds in reducing their weight by at least 10 percent and participants who refrain from smoking since the start of Ramadan will have the opportunity to enter a draw to receive air tickets, laptops and other valuable prizes. He said a hotline 66523740 is designated to answer questions.

Dr Saleh said cancer is one of the three diseases that lead to most deaths in most countries, and many studies have shown a large percentage of the health budget goes for cancer treatment, reaching nearly 15 percent in some countries. He said smoking in Kuwait causes a large burden of diseases that can be avoided, adding the World Health Organization recommends prevention and early detection to prevent the disease and reduce its budget, which affects health services.

Dr Saleh said among the most important prevention means is fighting smoking, which causes 80 percent of lung cancers and 60 percent of head and neck tumors, while exercising helps prevent nearly 20 percent of cancers. He said Kuwait has a large number of smokers compared to regional countries – 49.9 percent of men and 4.4 percent of women in Kuwait smoke, while a survey in 2014 showed 39.2 percent of men and 3.3 of women smoked. This compared to male smokers making up 23.8 percent in Bahrain, 22.2 percent in Saudi Arabia and 18.1 percent in the UAE.

Dr Saleh said a previous study showed doctors, who are most aware about the harms of smoking, make up 18.4 percent, while the percentage of doctors who quit smoking is 15.8 percent. The survey revealed 46 percent of students smoke – 10 percent smoke only shisha and 13 percent smoke only cigarettes, while 23 percent smoke both.

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