36% of Qatar population use tobacco

Some 36% of Qatar’s population use tobacco in one form or other and 10% of the smokers in the country are children, a Public Health and Disease Control consultant said yesterday.
Speaking at a one-day symposium organised by the Supreme Council of Health to highlight the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, Hamad Medical Corporation’s Smoking Cessation Clinic head Dr Ahmad Mohamed al-Mulla said the majority of the smokers in the country was aged 18 years and above.
“Some 10% of these smokers, who mostly use cigarettes and shesha, are children. Another 6% are women, while some 2% are students, who began smoking at the age of 12-15 years,” he said.
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Public Health recently, smokers in Qatar consume about 1bn cigarettes a year with 40% of the adults and 22% of the teens smoking. Each smoker in Qatar consumes about 12,000 cigarettes a year.

Dr al-Mulla said that some doctors in the country were smokers despite the amount of information about its harmful effects at their disposal.
Second-hand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), is a mixture of two forms of smoke – that which comes from burning tobacco and that exhaled by a smoker.
ETS causes 600,000 premature deaths per year as it contains more than 4,000 chemicals, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful. More than 50 of them are known to cause cancer.
In infants, second-hand smoke causes sudden death and in pregnant women, it leads to low birth weight babies.
“Second-hand smoke has many health risks for non-smokers including lung diseases (chronic cough and lung infections), asthma in children and middle ear infections,” Dr al-Mulla said.
In an opening speech, the SCH Public Health department director Dr Mohamed al-Thani said that smoking was the second major cause of deaths worldwide, stressing that one hour spent in a room with a smoker increased the possibility of lung cancer by 100% for non-smokers.
The official urged participants, comprising imams and scholars from the Ministry of Awqaf, to use the Ramadan period to create awareness about dangers of tobacco use and also Friday prayer sermons to promote good health.
“Emiri law number 20 of 2002 was issued to monitor tobacco use and sale of its products as well as smoking in closed public places,” he said.
“The law also bans the sale of cigarettes to any person under 18 years and our health inspectors and enforcement agents from the SCH Tobacco unit are constantly watching out for violators of this law,” he added

Gulf Times

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