Sharjah Emirate, UAE - earn monetary rewards for quiting smoking..

August 28, 2009 - The Sharjah (the third largest emirate (nation or territory ruled by an emir)of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)) Islamic Affairs Department has launched an anti-smoking campaign for Ramadan that will reward those who quit the habit with Dh10,000 (US$2,723; ₤1,667; AUS$3,410). (emir - a prince, chieftain, or governor) UAE are a federation of seven individual states, all ruled by emirs.

Twalib Ebrahim Al Merri, head of the Department of Islamic Affairs of the Government of Sharjah: "We want to use Ramadan to see the end of it for most smokers, because if you can [refrain from smoking] through out the day, then you can [refrain] throughout your life," , said.

The department's campaign is aimed at helping smokers quit this Ramadan and more than 100 smokers have already registered. The campaign was initially launched last year to facilitate the government's efforts to encourage people to quit smoking.

"In June 2008, the Sharjah Executive Council passed a decree banning people from smoking in public areas, such as in restaurants and shopping centers, and the decision was a thoughtful and researched effort to restrict the damaging health effects of smoking on the people of Sharjah," he said.

Contestants can participate in the campaign by calling the toll free number 8001441, where the participants will then be asked to take a medical test.

"Officials from the department will then keep a close watch over [participants] to make sure they quit smoking," Hussain Al Amiri, head of the Awareness Section at the Department of Islamic Affairs, said.

"At the end of the month they would be subject to another medical test to prove that they did not smoke for the whole month, and those who pass the test will then be entered into the draw," he said.

Al Amiri said the first prize winner will receive Dh10,000, while the second and third winners will be rewarded with Dh5,000. Others up to the tenth winner would carry home prizes like mobile phones and other electronics.

He pointed out that after Ramadan the department would continue to monitor those who have tried to quit smoking, and should they fail, they will be given counseling and any other assistance to prevent them from taking up the habit again.

Reference: Sharjah offers Dh10,000 reward to quit smoking by Mariam M. Al Serkal, Staff Reporter,, 8/26/2009.

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