Sport tourneys to be smoke-free

ABU DHABI - All Inter-school sports tournaments will soon be declared smoke-free, according to a Ministry of Health official.



By Anjana Sankar

Published: Wed 1 Jun 2005, 12:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:55 PM

"A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed with the Inter-school Sports Association under the Ministry of Education to ban smoking in all national school sports tournaments," Dr Ayesha Al Mutawa, Director of Health Education told Khaleej Times.

The move follows the enormous success of the no-smoking snooker tournament held in April this year in cooperation between the two ministries.

"We have got the initial approval for the MoU and are presently looking into the terms and conditions to be included," Dr Ayesha said. "We want to dispel the wrong notion among adolescent students that smoking and sports complement each other. Through our tobacco-free initiatives, we are driving home the point that smoking can adversely affect fitness," she noted.

In the same breath, Dr Ayesha added that in the absence of a national law limiting the sale and consumption of tobacco products, smoking will continue to increase.

"Our efforts in persuading children to kick the tobacco habit will yield no substantial results as long as the products are available at cheap prices in all supermarkets," she said.

On the existing law banning the sale of cigarettes to those below 18 years, Dr Ayesha insisted that the need of the hour is strict enforcement of the law.

According to her, the Health Education Department is likely to start the second Global Use Tobacco Survey among school children shortly in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.

"The first survey was conducted in 2002 that revealed that 8.9 per cent of school children were smokers and 25 per cent of them picked up the habit when they were between the age group 13 to 15. 9.8 per cent of students were likely to be smokers and the survey indicated that the total number of smokers will go up to 13.4 per cent in the next three years," explained Dr. Ayesha.

"The next survey is a chance to evaluate the results of our awareness programmes and plan future strategies to combat smoking among school children," she summed up.

YOU WANT TO STOP?

Those who are seriously interested in kicking the tobacco habit, Abu Dhabi mall is the place to be.

On the occasion of the 'World No-Tobacco Day' observed yesterday, the Preventive Medicine Department will run a four-day 'Quit-smoking Clinic' on the second floor of the mall. The clinic is organised in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi General Authority for Health Services (GAHS) and Shaikh Khalifa Medical City. The clinic will remain open from 10am to 10pm until June 3.

Visitors can get their blood pressure and lung efficiency and lung age measured using instruments like Lung Spiro-meter and Carbon Monoxide Monitor. Informational booklets on the dangers of tobacco and ways to quit the habit are available at the 'World No Tobacco Day' kiosk at the Abu Dhabi mall.

Those who attend the first private session for quitting at the clinic can later schedule future sessions at the 'Quit Smoking Clinic' at the Preventive Medicine Department.


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