MIDDLE EAST—The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) urged residents to quit smoking on World No-Tobacco Day, held on 31 May each year.

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has warned against the serious health risks associated with smoking, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health issues. 

The ministry has also emphasized the lack of scientific evidence supporting the safety of electronic smoking products.

The UAE has set a comprehensive strategy to curb tobacco use and create a smoke-free environment. 

This strategy includes a national program to reduce tobacco consumption, aligning with national health indicators. 

In 2005, the UAE became a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, solidifying its position as a leading nation in tobacco control efforts.

In Saudi Arabia, PIF-owned Badael marked its first anniversary by launching the “Clear the Air” campaign. 

This initiative aims to create a smoke-free Saudi Arabia by providing safer alternatives and encouraging individuals, organizations, and government entities to collaborate in this effort.

Badael aims to help one million Saudis quit smoking by 2028 through the production of Saudi-made DZRT nicotine pouches.

The company has achieved significant milestones, including establishing and expanding its manufacturing capacity, investing in research and development, and diversifying its distribution channels. 

Badael has also helped around 300,000 people transition from tobacco to its products.

Dr. Jamuna Devi, a consultant cardiologist at LLH Hospital, highlighted the dangers of smoking, stating that it narrows the arteries, reduces oxygen levels, and increases the tendency of blood to clot inside the coronary arteries, leading to heart attacks. 

She emphasized that quitting tobacco can significantly reduce the risk of developing smoking-related diseases and improve overall health.

Zubair Qayyum, a 25-year-old expat who suffered a heart attack last year, has become a dedicated anti-smoking advocate. 

He started smoking at the age of 13 and had a severe heart attack after years of heavy smoking. 

Zubair’s near-death experience led him to quit smoking and encourage his friends to do the same. 

He now urges young people to take control of their health and avoid the dangers of tobacco.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are urging residents to quit smoking and create a smoke-free environment. The efforts are part of the quality-of-life portion of the nation’s Vision 2030.

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