Doha, 30 May, 2020: World No Tobacco Day is recognized globally on 31 May and the theme for this year is how to protect the world’s younger generations from using tobacco products of all types — focusing on protecting them from being manipulated by tobacco companies, which increasingly target young people to hook them to these addictive products. This an important issue and a challenge to tobacco policymakers in every country.
Dr. Ahmad Al Mulla, Head of the HMC's Tobacco Control Center, said that when a person starts to smoke before the age of twenty, they are more vulnerable to addiction. He said the brain and body of a young person are still developing, weakening their ability to benefit from smoking cessation treatment, then or in the future. He said it is important to help young people maintain their health and reject tobacco addiction by raising awareness of the problem and enforcing strict tobacco control laws that protect young people from using tobacco products of all types.
“Throughout the year our Tobacco Control Center organized activities in support of this year’s World No Tobacco Day theme, which includes field awareness activities in several preparatory and secondary schools – which were held before schools closed due to the COVID-10 pandemic. These activities are continuing through our media awareness campaign, including on social media platforms. We have also taken this time to highlight the link between smoking and severe COVID-19 illness, and these activities will continue to intensify during the coming months," said Dr. Al Mulla.
Dr. Al Mulla also called on the relevant authorities to effectively implement law No. 10 of 2016 to combat smoking in the State of Qatar, which includes a number of sanctions designed to protect young people from using tobacco products, such as prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18 years old, as well as preventing the sale of tobacco products near schools and universities, and banning the sale of different smoking products such as sweika, medwakh, and e-cigarette.
Dr. Al Mulla said that HMC's Tobacco Control Center is participating in global events on 31 May, including participating in an online seminar organized by the World Health Organization and other global organizations working in the field of smoking cessation. He said the seminar will be an opportunity to discuss how participating countries can continue working together to activate the World No Tobacco Day theme and future measures to protect current and future generations from being manipulated and attracted to tobacco products.
“There are multiple methods and techniques used by the tobacco industry to entice young people to smoke, including adding different flavors such as strawberry, mint, and apple to tobacco products, using attractive packaging of smoking products, misleading young people, particularly boys, to view smoking as a masculine activity and enticing girls to view it as elegant. In addition to promoting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, through cinema and TV, companies are deliberately and systematically prompting their products to young people,” said Dr. Al Mulla.
“All of these tricks are obvious, but many young people are unaware of just how dangerous smoking is, and of the risks of smoking. However, thanks to global efforts to promote just how harmful smoking is, we have seen a decrease in smoking rates among young people in recent years," added Dr. Al Mulla.
Dr. Al Mulla is calling on all smokers to take advantage of the services provided by HMC's Tobacco Control Center, which include therapeutic counseling, medication therapy, behavioral therapy, and laser therapy to help smokers permanently give up smoking and release them from addiction to all types of tobacco products. From more information on HMC's Tobacco Control Center, call 5080 0959.