16 May 2018 – 11:26
Doha: The Ministry of Public Health has launched a national campaign to curb the impacts of smoking and tobacco use.
The three-phase, multi-year campaign aims to encourage residents to follow the tobacco control law, understand the risks associated with tobacco use, to discourage youth from starting the habit and to direct people to useful resources to help them quit.
Minister of Public Health, H E Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, said: “Smoking is a significant public health issue in Qatar. Around 37 percent of the population over the age of 15 say they currently smoke tobacco and we continue to see more young people take up the habit. The National Health Strategy 2018-2022 sets a target of reducing the prevalence of smoking, and to achieve this, it is important that we redouble our efforts to combat tobacco use.”
“This includes enforcement of our law on tobacco control which is not only designed to reduce tobacco consumption in Qatar but also to protect non-smokers such as children, who are exposed to harmful second-hand smoke. This campaign highlights our commitment to achieving that goal, and reducing the impact tobacco has on our community.”
The Ministry’s campaign starts by raising awareness of Law No.10 of 2016 on the control of tobacco and its derivatives. The law prohibits smoking in closed public spaces, including a ban on smoking in cars with minors. These offenses can lead to a fine of up to QR3,000.
Shops that allow indoor tobacco use or allow the sale of tobacco products to minors can face steep fines and up to three months closure. The law also prohibits advertising or promotions for tobacco products and bans the use of electronic cigarettes, sweika and other chewing tobacco products.
Dr Al Anoud Mohammed Al Thani, Manager, Health Promotion and Non-Communicable Diseases at MOPH said, “By informing the public of the tobacco control law and the impact of violating it, we better equip the population to understand the rules and the importance of working together toward a tobacco-free Qatar.”
Dr Al Thani also stressed the importance of working together with partners at Hamad Medical Corporation and Primary Health Care Corporation to provide a unified voice on the tobacco-control issue. She explained the campaign will also emphasize the harmful impacts of tobacco use and highlight the national resources available to support people to quit.
The public can report violations of the tobacco control law to the Tobacco Inspection Team by calling 50302001.