June 24, 2010 - There is a growing concern in Saudi Arabia because of the continuing increase in the number of smokers of both sexes, especially among young people and minors. (Saudi Arabia - number of smokers has increased..)
For that reason, the Healthcare development holding company (HDH), the leading company specialized in healthcare sector, and a subsidiary of the Bin Laden group of companies, launched an intensive campaign against smoking in the Saudi youth demographic, in collaboration with a MBC Media Group, and in conjunction with the World Day to Quit Smoking, which marks the 31 of May each year. (The Saudi Bin Laden Group (SBG) announced earlier the establishment of a Healthcare Development Holding Company (HDH) as a SBG division dedicated to develop the healthcare sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region.)
Commenting on this campaign, Dr. Wael Kaawach, Chief Executive Officer, Healthcare development holding company, and orthopedic surgery consultant at Harvard University, said:"In launching this campaign, the HDH is driven by its believe in its social role and responsibility to educate the local community about the health risks of smoking, especially as the Kingdom is ranked fourth in the world in the number of smokers, who account for about 30% of its population."
Dr. Kaawach also highlighted that HDH seeks through this campaign to reach young Saudi men and women who represent the majority of Saudi society, where more than 60 percent of its citizens are under the age of twenty-five-years of age. And expressed his hope that this campaign will contribute in the education of the community in the dangers of smoking and its negative consequences, which will lead to the cooperation of relevant authorities, of the official and governmental bodies, to enact strict laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to those under the age of eighteen, and enforcing a ban on smoking in public areas.
The campaign, which lasts about two months, focuses on finding effective methods to prevent this phenomenon, and to raise awareness in the Saudi society about the dangerous effects of smoking. It also addresses decision makers to enact laws prohibiting the sale of cigarette and tobacco products to those under the age of eighteen, and calls to popularize the Mecca and Medina initiative in the rest of Saudi cities, where it is forbidden in the two holy cities to sell cigarette or smoke in public.
The first phase of the awareness campaign has been launched by Fulstop agency, by broadcasting a series of TV ads on the MBC channels, targeting young people who are, under peer pressure, are tempted to experiment with smoking. It also targets parents and caregivers who could contribute, unintentionally, in enticing their children towards this bad habit.
Dr. Wael Kaawach added: "HDH is planning to launch more initiatives after this campaign, in coordination with the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia, which is doing its best in establishing a series of health centers to quit smoking. We are also looking forward to cooperating with other concerned government agencies, in order to curtail this negative phenomenon, and its dire health and economical consequences."
Reference: Awareness campaign to fight smoking and to prevent the sale of tobacco products in Saudi Arabia to minors, Launched by HDH Company in corporation with MBC Group, 6/23/2010.
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Saudi Arabia - number of smokers has increased..;
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