Anti-smoking campaign in September

DUBAI - ANT Specialised Media Group, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY), is set to launch an awareness campaign titled "No Smoking" by September this year, aimed at inculcating in teenagers the fatal consequences of smoking.

By Lina Abdul Rahman

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Published: Tue 3 Feb 2004, 11:36 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:36 PM

Amer Ibrahim, Marketing Manager of the ANT Specialised Media Group, told Khaleej Times recently that the campaign would target all teenagers studying at various schools in the UAE. It is also aimed at highlighting the advantages of quitting smoking and enlightening them on its harmful effects.

"In the past few years, the smoking rate among school students in the UAE has increased and this trend is a serious cause for concern. The increase in the number of smokers is partly attributed to teenage students. Virtually, all adult smokers started smoking as teenagers and very few people pick up the habit as adults," he said.

According to Mr Ibrahim, the media group, in cooperation with MoEY, have started printing a large number of guidance booklet that will be distributed among all the private and public schools in the UAE and will feature comprehensive information about the fatal consequence of smoking and recent statistics prepared concerning smoking. "The students will also be given a chance to take part in competitions where they will be asked to write their personal observations about smoking. The students, who come up with the most impressive articles, will be presented with a gift which would be given by one of the sponsors of the event," he added

Mr Ibrahim observed that tobacco companies perceive teenagers as easy buyers of their fatal product. "Tobacco advertising is another important factor that tempts young people to smoke despite their claims that they are not their target."

"Although advertising cigarettes on television has been banned in some countries, it continues on billboards, magazines and through sponsorship of various events. In the UAE, it has been found that teenagers smoke the cigarette brands that are most heavily promoted and that advertising reinforces their smoking habits."

Mr Ibrahim said that the campaign focuses on increasing student awareness about the fatal consequences of smoking. "Through the campaign, we would like to warn teenagers against getting addicted to smoking and prevent them from developing this habit. We want to inform them that they should not be swayed by any advertisement which they watch or read about, and emphasise that health should be their primary consideration," he said.

Urgent need to take immediate steps

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey clearly indicates that a formidable number of youth lack the basic knowledge on the health hazards related to tobacco use. They're under the false impression that cigarette smoking improves their image and makes them more attractive and popular. The presence of an environment conducive to smoking that encourages young people to start smoking at an early age remains to be the most important factor in the spread of this serious problem.

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) is the first comprehensive and representative school-based study of youth smoking knowledge, attitudes and beliefs conducted in the UAE. This study, which was conducted by the Ministries of Health and Education, used an internationally standardised instrument that facilitates comparing youth behaviour regarding tobacco use at the regional and international levels.

The results of the survey imply the urgent need to take immediate measures to control the tobacco epidemic and consequently decrease the burden of smoking-related diseases. Accelerating the recommendations of the Council of Health Ministers of the AGCC countries through the implementation of preventive strategies capable of protecting and promoting the health and well being of future generations will be a step in the right direction. Finally, there should be a concerted action against the media-hype and the glamorous advertisements that advocate smoking and influence impressionable youngsters.

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