JEDDAH, (Arab News): According to recent statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 22 percent of Saudis smoke Cigarettes with 25 percent of them suffering from diabetes and 15 to 20 percent experiencing high blood pressure.
“About 50 percent of Saudis suffer from high cholesterol levels in blood and 36 percent from obesity,” the WHO said, adding that about 10 million of the Kingdom’s population suffer from at least three major factors that cause heart diseases.
Doctors say people should abstain from smoking, indulge in regular physical exercise, consume hygienic food, maintain moderate body weight and regularly check their blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels to avoid heart diseases. The Kingdom has also achieved a 98 percent success in open-heart surgeries. According to One report, six million people in the Kingdom spend around SR5 billion ($1.3 billion) annually on Cigarettes, smoking around 15 billion Cigarettes each year. A single Saudi on average smokes 2,130 Cigarettes in a year.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Badah, Supervisor of the Anti-Smoking Program at the Health Ministry, estimates there is a staggering 600,000 Saudi women smokers, with many of these being teenagers. The Kingdom is also ranked 23rd among the largest tobacco consuming countries in the world.
Muhammad ibn Marzouk Al-Harithy, director of the Charitable Society to Enhance Public Awareness against Smoking and Drugs in the Makkah Region, said nearly 23,000 people die in the Kingdom each year as a result of smoking-related diseases.
Dr. amer Radwi, consultant oncologist at the Princess Noura Oncology Center located at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City in Jeddah, called for a nationwide campaign to Reduce the spread of smoking, especially among young men and women. “We should target students at schools and universities as the majority pick up the habit before the age of 20,” he said. He also urged the government to enforce regulations to ban smoking in public places.
“Secondary smoking is equally dangerous and deadly. Parents should not smoke inside their homes to protect their children and other family members from the hazardous effects of smoking,” he said.
Studies have proved that secondary smoking each year causes thousands of deaths from lung cancer and heart diseases among healthy nonsmokers.