JEDDAH: The Kingdom joined the World Health Organization (WHO) and the rest of the world in marking World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).

The Kingdom’s celebrations this year coincided with significant developments which involved the issuance of a system to ban smoking in the Kingdom, a quantum leap in the efforts made by authorities here to fight this plague invading Saudi society.

Badran bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar, the director of King Saud University and head of the board of trustees of the medical city of the university, said: “The issuance of the system to ban smoking represents a pivotal phase in the efforts to combat smoking in Saudi society. It clearly reflects the wise leadership of the Kingdom to protect the health of citizens.”

During his inauguration of the event to mark WNTD and the awareness exhibit, King Saud University Medical City CEO Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Muammar warned against the severe health and economic implications of smoking on the society, calling for the integrations of the roles made by the state, civil society organizations, and the private sector to stand firmly in the face of smoking and its spread among members of society.

Speaking on the efforts made by the Kingdom to raise awareness on the harms of smoking in the face of the international tobacco companies marketing machine, Dr. Yusuf Al-Turky, family medicine doctor at King Saud University said such efforts are not enough and are ineffective.

Fighting smoking will save funds spent on treating illnesses resulting from smoking, the same priority that propelled WHO to put in place programs to combat smoking,” he said.

Prof. Ahmed S. BaHammam, a consultant in pulmonary and sleep medicine, said raising customs’ tariffs on tobacco companies is important and necessary, adding that this method proved successful internationally. Source: Arabnews