• Arts
  • April 29, 2010
  • 4 minutes read

Egypt’s war on smoking

Egypt’s war on smoking

The final report of the survey of smoking in the world revealed that in Egypt, the average monthly expenditure on cigarettes for smokers was about 110 Egyptian pounds ($20). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average daily consumption of cigarettes among male smokers in the country was about one pack per day compared to half a pack per day among female smokers.

The report, which was published on Wednesday in coordination with the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the WHO and the Ministry of Health stated that about 38 percent of adult males in Egypt consume a tobacco product and 32 percent smoke cigarettes, while 6 percent smoke shisha, or the water pipe, and 5 percent consume chewing tobacco.

Major General Abu Bakr el-Gendi, the head of CAPMAS described the survey as a “plan for monitoring the phenomenon of smoking and to put them in front of decision-makers to develop the necessary awareness programs to reduce the phenomenon and its implications for economic development.”

The Egyptian government has been focusing efforts in recent years on attempting to crackdown on smoking in the country. New pictures on cigarette packs show a limp cigarette with the caption “smoking decreases sexual ability,” but with each new campaign comes new failures, as Egyptians seem ready to disregard the warnings.

“Why would they do that, people who smoke are going to smoke,” said Mustafa Goma’a, a doctor at a local Cairo hospital, who puts out his cigarette while on break.

It is an uphill battle, but as European nations push for smoking bans, Egypt is looking to follow suit, although public opinion is not behind the initiatives.

For his part, representative of the WHO Ahmed Abdul-Latif considered the survey “an important tool for monitoring and tracking all types of tobacco consumption and planning to combat it.”

The representative said that the national report of the global survey on tobacco consumption among adults in Egypt “is the basic official document on tobacco, a provision is the current situation for the application of both state legislation for tobacco control and materials of the Framework Convention to Combat

Tobacco and effective strategy espoused by the World Health Organization.”

Nasr El Sayed, Assistant Minister of Health, said in response to the report that a program will be implemented “to combat smoking in 6 Governorates starting next May in Alexandria and to begin announcing it as a smoke-free zone with the participation of civil society organizations.”

He called for the repetition of the global survey of smoking in Egypt every 3 to 5 years and to follow-up and monitor the phenomenon.

The Assistant Minister of Health said the survey, which showed important indicators including the proportion of smokers in Egypt, has reached 7 percent overall and is equivalent to one-fifth of the adults, needs to be studied further.

The survey showed a dangerous phenomenon that the 56 percent of waterpipe smokers are in the home and they exercise “this detrimental health consequence on family members and children in particular.”

The survey revealed that tobacco consumption among adults reached nearly 80 percent of Egyptians, who are subjected to secondhand smoke in public transport and 70 percent are exposed to it in restaurants and 50 percent in health facilities.

The ministry told Bikya Masr on Thursday that “we have to be careful not to let smoking continue without a campaign.” It added that “in Europe there was some protest to the anti-smoking laws, but now, people understand the need for it and it is working just fine.”

Repuplished with Permission from Bikymasr