Riyadh Battles Smoking in Ramadan Campaign
MAKKAH, October 25, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) â€“ Saudi Arabia has launched a nationwide anti-smoking campaign during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
"Some 40 young people fan out across Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah to raise awareness on the health risks caused by the ugly habit among worshipers from the four corners of the universe," Samir Sabban, the supervisor of the anti-smoking committee, told IslamOnline.net Tuesday, October 25.
The official further said that five clinics have been opened in the Muslim holy city as part of the campaign to help people give up smoking.
Abdullah bin Daowd Al-Fa'ez, the head of the anti-smoking committee, urged residents and visitors in the city to respond positively to the campaign and join hands for a smoking-free Makkah.
Millions of Muslims from across the globe flock to Saudi Arabia , particularly the holy city of Makkah , during the dawn-to-dust fasting month.
Citing its many serious health and life hazards, Muslim scholars have concluded that smoking is Haram [prohibited].
The oil-rich kingdom has also launched a new anti-smoking campaign on the internet to raise awareness among Arab smokers.
"Anti-smoking awareness mails in both Arabic and English have been sent to more than seven million smokers in Saudi Arabia and Arab countries," Sulaiman Abdul Rahman, secretary general of the anti-smoking charity, told IOL.
He added that the campaign was launched to coincide with the beginning of the holy fasting month in which smokers have to give up the ugly at least during daylight.
During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex.
A cohort of Saudi physicians and psychiatrists are helping with the anti-smoking campaign while a host of well-known Web sites are assisting with the campaign promotion.
Saudi Arabia has been the scene of intensive anti-smoking efforts since the kingdom joined the anti-tobacco agreement in May 2005.
Saudi Arabia ranks fourth among world countries in tobacco imports and consumption.
More than 15 billion cigarettes, worth 168 million dollars, are being smoked by Saudis per year, according to the figures of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)'s health ministers council.