Saudi Arabia - smokers to pay higher health insurance premium..

January 23, 2009 - RIYADH - Smokers in Saudi Arabia will have to pay an increased premium for their health insurance policies, according to Health Minister Hamad Al Manie, who has spelt out a series of measures to be undertaken by his ministry to discourage smoking.Al Manie said in Riyadh on Sunday that his ministry would not entertain any business transactions from tobacco companies in the future. According to the minister’s directives, we are working out a set of new rules to combat smoking in the kingdom,” said Ibrahim Sulayman Al Musaidteer, director general of the legal department in the ministry of health. It is the ministry’s duty to look after both the interests of smokers and nonsmokers who become victims of second-hand smoke,” he said.

The ministry is also planning to set up a model anti-smoking clinic in Riyadh to combat the menace.Over 50 anti-smoking clinics in the kingdom will be electronically linked .He said the minister would take the new initiative to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Health Ministers Council for implementation in other GCC member countries.

Reference: Smokers to Pay Increased Health Insurance Premium in Saudi Arabia, Khaleej Times Online, 1/20/2009.