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Anti-smoking committee vows to fight Jordan’s taste for tobacco

Kingdom’s smoking rate among world’s highest

By JT - Jun 18,2019 - Last updated at Jun 18,2019

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz chairs the National Committee for Anti-Smoking’s first meeting in Amman on Monday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The National Committee for Anti-Smoking held its first meeting on Monday, with the attendance of HRH Princess Dina Mired and chaired by Prime Minister Omar Razzaz.

Smoking statistics in the Kingdom are “very scary and alarming”, as Jordan has one of the highest rates of smoking in the world, the premier said, stressing that the committee will work to counter the phenomenon affecting communities and young people.

Jordan ranks second in the world after Indonesia, and first in the region with the highest percentage of male smokers. Over 70 per cent of Jordanian adult males are smokers, according to the World Health Organisation’s 2015 figures.

Health officials estimate that some 9,000 Jordanians die every year from cigarette-related health issues; a number that is rising, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Data also showed that Jordanians spend JD1.6 billion on tobacco products annually — equal to 6 per cent of the Kingdom’s GDP.

The committee underscored the necessity of strictly implementing the General Health Law, which prohibits smoking in public areas and government and public institutions.

HRH Princess Dina, the committee’s observer member, warned against smoking, noting that she has followed closely the cost of smoking-related illnesses through her work as chairperson of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation.

She expressed her trust that the committee would save the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people, adding that 45 per cent of male smokers are youth.

According to the committee, JD200 million is spent per year to treat smoking-related illnesses.

The committee, which will hold periodical meetings, decided to form an executive sub-committee chaired by Health Minister Saad Jaber to follow up on the committee’s measures.

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