Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Oman- Under a cloud of smoke  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 13/05/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Twenty five year old Ahmed (name changed on request) gets a little embarrassed when asked how old he was when he took his first drag. ''It was a long time ago,'' he claims, without revealing too much.

''A few of my relatives managed to sneak in a stick; as children we were very curious, especially because our elders were constantly trying to warn us against smoking. So cigarettes became a cause to rebel. But the habit didn't cling to me immediately,'' he clarifies. ''I started smoking heavily only a couple of years later.''

Today, Ahmed's long tryst with the habit is slowly beginning to reflect on his health, with symptoms varying from fatigue, excessive panting when exercising and even blood pressure. The thought of being hit by something worse hasn't struck him yet. But for health experts in the sultanate, the alarming rise in the number of tobacco consumers among the youth could reveal a disturbing picture soon, especially with relation to the cancer incidents in the country, which until now have been considerably low.

According to results of the last conducted country-wide Global Youth Tobacco (GYT) Survey in 2007 released by the Ministry of Health, one in every ten Omani children between the age group of 13-15, smoked cigarettes. The numbers have only inflated in the last six years, experts believe.

Currently, cancers caused due to tobacco consumption do not figure in the five most common cancers among Omanis. But with the number of tobacco users on the rise, it wouldn't be surprising if it is declared the number one cancer-causing source soon, Dr Zahid al Mandhari, deputy director of oncology at The Royal Hospital, argues.

According to Dr Mandhari, tobacco is the single source of various cancers in the human body. ''Apart from lung cancer, tobacco use also increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, lips, nose and sinuses, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), oesophagus (food pipe), stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary (mucinous) and acute myeloid leukaemia,'' he states.

''Tobacco-related cancers aren't the number one in Oman because during our fathers' generation smoking was considered a taboo. Unfortunately, now the number of smokers has increased. The effects of the current lifestyle will be visible in ten years, if not more,'' he says.

Cigarettes not the only threat
Apart from the cigarette menace, the GYT survey of 2007 also highlighted another worrisome trend: The growing use of pipe, shisha and smokeless tobacco among children, with almost eight per cent of the children in the same age group (13-15) taking to water pipes, while four per cent consumed tobacco in chewable form. What was more disturbing was that 31 per cent of the children who used shisha initiated this habit before the age of ten.

The overriding concern for most doctors now is the misinformation about other tobacco products, especially shisha “ that many young kids have taken fancy to “ without realising that it poses graver health risks.

''Shisha cafs are spreading like wild fire in most Gulf countries. In fact, one could easily say that the Middle East is hit by an epidemic of shisha smoking,'' said Dr Jawad al Lawati, senior consultant and Rapporteur of National Tobacco Control Committee.

As per a World Health Organization study, a one-hour shisha smoking session amounts to smoking 200 cigarettes. ''Shisha is more dangerous because it gives a false sense of security. People think that the water acts like a purifier or filter, but it is far from it,'' says Dr Mandhari, asserting that the 200' figure is not far-fetched.

Dr Zahir Ahmed al Anqoudi, senior consultant family physician, member of the National Tobacco Control Committee and chairperson of the Oman Anti-Tobacco Society, claims that it is the period of smoking, the level of carbon monoxide, nicotine and the amount of muassal (mild tobacco) used in shishas that establishes the risks. Unlike cigarettes, smoking the pipe requires taking longer and harder drags, which increases the levels of nicotine and carcinogens entering the lungs, thus making it more harmful, experts state.

Another rage among school kids is the use of smokeless or chewable tobacco, which is still being illegally bootlegged into the sultanate despite a nationwide ban since 2011. ''We get a lot of a reports from teachers, schools and the Ministry of Education about students buying smokeless tobacco. We've been told that children are getting more and more into buying this stuff,'' Dr Lawati said.

According to Dr Anqoudi, youth generally take to smokeless tobacco because it has less of an odour and is presumed to be safer. ''But it has almost similar complications as smoking cigarettes...it also increases the risk of mouth cancers. In addition, it causes disfiguring of the mouth. Also, some producers at the local stores, as well as outside Oman add different strange materials like smashed glass to increase the absorption of nicotine by the already hardened mucosa of the mouth,'' he said, adding that this could be incredibly harmful for kids.

What can be done?
Early users of tobacco are more vulnerable to the risk of diseases, claims Dr Anqoudi, adding that only more awareness about the dangers of consuming tobacco products could change the current situation.

At the family level, he feels that parents must develop a good relationship with their children, and ''talk openly about smoking and their harmful effects'', rather than treating the issue as taboo. ''Peer pressure is a major contributor to children developing the habit...having a good relationship with your children and befriending them can have stronger influence to counter peer pressure,'' he feels.
Dr Lawati states that increasing the taxes of tobacco products may also prove to be a huge deterrent to the youth.

''Taxes on tobacco have not been raised for the last 14 years, when prices of all other goods have increased, including soft drinks, as well as other most basic items required for everyday use like oil, sugar, foodstuff etc. According to WHO, cigarette packs are cheaper in Oman, when compared to other countries for examples Sudan and Palestine. You can buy tobacco for US2.3 or less here. The same pack would be available in those countries for US8-US10. So the lack of legislation is an issue and static taxes are a concern. We are working on a national legislation, the sooner we have it, the stronger the boost to tobacco control efforts,'' he said.

Another plan, he said was to put a cautionary sticker on the shisha apparatus. ''Obviously, cafs will not like to enforce this, because that will inform the people. It is a challenge...but it should be made mandatory,'' Dr Lawati says.

If nothing else, health experts feel that such preventive measures will at least warn the youth about what they are getting into. As Dr Mandhari puts it, ''Do we wait till we see the results of our habits or rath


 


Muscat Daily




  MENA News Headlines
 Apr 30 2016 - Qatar's MPHC net profit up 83 percent in Q1MENAFN
(MENAFN) Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co. posted net profit of USD 58.28mn for the first quarter of this year, an increase of 83 percent.Furthermore, the increase was attributed to growth sales ...

 Apr 30 2016 - Aaml Co. net profit jumps 33.7 percent in Q1MENAFN
(MENAFN) Aamal firm, one of the GCC's fastest growing firms, proclaimed net profit of USD 42.18mn for Q1 of this year, a jump of 33.7 percent.Additionally, group profit were up 6.9 percent to USD ...

 Apr 30 2016 - Egypt, UAE to discuss relations in real estate projectsMENAFN
(MENAFN)Egypt and UAE will discuss real estate investment projects that UAE seeks to participate in.Moreover, these projects involve the New Administrative Capital, as well as housing projects in ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Omani power firm to build vital power facilityMENAFN
(MENAFN) Omani Musandam Power Company SAOC (MPC) will construct the Musandam Independent Power Plant (Musandam IPP) in the Musandam Governorate.As a high level official stated, the firm's strategy ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Saudi, French bilateral trade to reach USD13.6bMENAFN
(MENAFN) The Saudi-French Business Opportunities Forum taking place in Saudi Arabia delivers the finest stage to advance parts of mutual collaboration in many new areas.The two countries enjoy great ...

 Apr 29 2016 - KSA continues to prioritize low spendingMENAFN
(MENAFN) Saudi plans to return unspent money which was allocated in this year's budget for the purpose of cutting waste as state revenues weakens due to low oil prices.In the recent past, government ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- El Jaish aim to dethrone LekhwiyaThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Lekhwiya players lift the Qatar Cup trophy in this May 2 2015 file picture. Doha: El Jaish will be looking for a repeat of their 2014 Qatar Cup success when they ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar Cup Trophy Tour stops at OoredooThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha: The Qatar Cup tour made its final stop at Ooredoo the official telecom partner of the Qatar Cup 2016. Staff and management took an opportunity to take photos and ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Al Rayyan rally to win Qatar Cup titleThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Al Rayyan SC players and officials celebrate while receiving the Qatar Cup after they beat El Jaish SC 21-25 25-18 25-17 32-34 18-16 in the final played at Ali Bin Hamad Al ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- Emir Cup: Al Kharaitiyat Al Gharafa earn thrilling wins to advanceThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Al Sailiya’s Abdurahman Al Harazi (left) celebrates after scoring the first goal for his team during their Emir Cup third round match against Al Wakrah SC at Al Arabi ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Steinmeier doubts Trump's 'America first' planThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier gestures during a joint press conference with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva (not seen) after their meeting ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- Met predicts a hot day with some cloudsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha: The weather forecast for Qatar valid until 6pm Thursday inshore will be hot during the day with some clouds offshore will be hazy to misty at places and partly ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar key to boosting Turkey-GCC tiesThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met Turkey’s Prime Minister Dr Ahmet Davutoglu and his delegation at the Emiri Diwan yesterday. They discussed relations ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- Emir welcomes King Mohammed of MoroccoThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani welcomes King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco and his delegation at Hamad International Airport. Doha: Emir H H Sheikh ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar eyes 'best of the best' turf for 2022The Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) A worker tends to grass being grown at a research and development centre in Murakh to find the best playing surface for FIFA 2022 yesterday. Doha: Watching grass grow ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar discusses WTD eventsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha: Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) yesterday held a meeting with UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to discuss Qatar’s preparations to host World Tourism Day 2017. ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- Premier meets EU Counterterrorism CoordinatorThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha: Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani yesterday met European Union Counterterrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- QU University of Illinois sign dealThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) DOHA: An agreement signed between Qatar University College of Medicine (QU-CMED) and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has established ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- AZF Ramadan Sports Festival from June 10The Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) DOHA: Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) has added cricket and rugby to its annual Ramadan Sports Festival which starts on June 10. The two-week event will end on June 24 (5-19 ...

 Apr 29 2016 - Qatar- First phase of mapping genetic code of citizens in final stageThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Fazeena Saleem DOHA: The initial phase of an initiative to map the genetic code of citizens for better diagnoses and treatment of diseases in Qatar has reached the ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help