Stub it out: Smoking killed 23,000 in KSA last year

There is an alarming rise in the Kingdom’s death rate due to smoking.

“Smoking caused more than 23,000 deaths in the Kingdom last year,” said a report from an anti-smoking center. It said the number would double by 2025.

The report describes the measures taken to combat smoking as weak.

It warned that passive smoking, which is smoke inhaled by people who are close to smokers, is lethal as it can cause death, disease and physical weakness.

Statistical studies have shown a steady increase in the number of young and adolescent smokers across the world. The numbers warrant serious efforts to halt the habit’s escalation.

At the same time, a number of citizens have demanded awareness drives concerning the tragic consequences of smoking.

They say that families should keep children away from bad company. They must also explain to them the dangers involved in smoking cigarettes.

Nasser Saleh of the anti-smoking center said that smoking was spreading fast among young children and adolescents.

“Young smokers in the past used to hide their habit from others for fear of parents’ and neighbors’ angry reactions, but now they smoke near their homes and show no fear in being seen by all. This shows their lack of awareness on the dangers of smoking,” he said.

“It is very common these days to see children smoking close to their homes, schools, public places and parks,” Saleh said, adding that weak parental supervision and monitoring combined with the influence of the children’s smoking friends make the situation even worse and eventually the children become addicted to cigarettes.

Saleh stressed that parents should inform their children about the harmful effects of smoking and, if needed, punish the children in order to stop them smoking.

Khaled Fahd also warned that the growing habit of smoking among young men might be attributed to weak religious influence as well as a lack of awareness about the dangers of smoking and negligence on the part of their relatives.

He felt that some teenagers might turn to smoking as a result of personal problems. They might be trying to prove themselves adults in the belief that smoking is a sign of maturity.

Sultan Muhammad said a lot of teenagers believed that smoking was a shortcut to the adult world, and that it was a sign of manhood.

His advice to parents with teenage children is to be friends with their children so that the children do not look for friendship with the wrong kind of young people.

Sattam Al-Harbi said some children were driven to smoking because of problems at home such as quarreling parents and thus, they did not get the love or recognition they need.

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