(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Sidi Mohamed
DOHA: Qatar joins the rest of the world today to celebrate World No Tobacco Day, with awareness activities under the theme ‘Get ready for plain packaging’ chosen by World Health Organisation.
The Ministry of Public Health, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) are organising activities to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking.
At HMC, the campaign, which targets employees and visitors, will be held from 8am to noon.
Medical cadres from PHCC, including doctors from Smoking Cessation Clinics and social and nutrition specialists will also hold awareness activities and lectures in health centres to support smokers to kick the habit.
Dr Sheikha Al Anoud bint Mohamed Al Thani, Director, Health Protection and Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry, stressed that the Ministry is keen to combat tobacco in all its types.
De Al Anoud said the Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics and under WHO’s supervision, prepared an international survey on adults consuming tobacco in 2013.
The survey targeted individuals living with their families and aged 15 and above. It showed that 12.1 percent of 8,571 families surveyed were smoking, in addition to 3.4 percent of family members who were smoking shisha.
About 9.8 percent of students surveyed were smoking cigarette and the percentage of people who never smoked but were exposed to smoke rose to 23.1 percent compared to 13.1 in 2007.
The Tobacco Control Unit at the Ministry of Public Health is conducting inspection and monitoring campaigns at public and private institutions, sports clubs, restaurants and markets to ensure strict implementation of the ban on smoking in public places.
Inspectors at the unit are also monitoring the ban on sale of cigarettes and tobacco in stores less than 500 metres from schools and other educational institutions.
Dr Ahmad Al Mulla, Head, Smoking Cessation Clinic, HMC, said studies show that smoking is the major cause of death around the world, and other diseases related to it create a large burden on healthcare services.
“The clinic receives several patients seeking support to get out of their addiction to nicotine and we help them to stop smoking not only cigarettes but also shisha,” said Dr Al Mulla.
The Smoking Cessation Clinics this year also received many people, mostly youth, seeking help to stop smoking.