JEDDAH – Nearly 50 percent of government employees in Makkah smoke, according to a recent survey conducted by the anti-smoking committee in the holy city.
“More than 800 employees have taken part in the survey, which found 49.4 percent of them having the unhealthy habit,” said Dr. Ali Zahrani, secretary-general of the committee that creates awareness on the harmful effects of smoking in society.
The survey was conducted last year as part of the committee’s activities. “We would like to expand this survey in the coming years asking participants more questions,” he said.
Al-Zahrani highlighted the committee’s activities and said they focus on enhancing public awareness on the dangerous effects of smoking and providing treatment to quit the unhealthy habit.
“We also implement the directive of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to make Makkah a smoke-free city in association with other government departments,” he said.
He said the committee provided treatment to more than 3,000 smokers last year through its permanent and mobile clinics. “We have opened four new clinics at Hera Hospital, Kaakiya, Jamoom and Sharayie to provide treatment to those trying to stop smoking,” he added.
The committee has established six mobile clinics to provide services to people at their work places in various parts of the city. “We have established partnership with the Education Department to enhance awareness among the young people about the dangers of smoking,” he added.
Speaking about the committee’s activities among pilgrims, Al-Zahrani said: “We conduct awareness and treatment programs at pilgrims’ residences in Makkah, Mina and other holy sites.”
The committee has received requests from different government departments to provide its awareness and treatment services to their employees.
“This demands recruitment of more workers and a greater supply of various awareness materials. We want to overcome these obstacles by establishing partnerships with different agencies,” he said.
The committee has signed an agreement with a consultancy firm in association with Umm Al-Qura University to set out a strategic plan, the secretary-general said. “We hope it would contribute to realizing the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform program,” he concluded.