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Over 20 percent teenagers in Kuwait smoke – survey ‘Doctors on illegal medical leave face suspension’

KUWAIT CITY, May 30, (KUNA): Kuwait will observe World No Tobacco Day on May 31 fully acknowledging the dangerous implications of being the first nation in the Gulf in its average number of smokers. Local statistics compiled by the Kuwait Society for Smoking and Cancer Prevention also reveal that over 20 percent of 13-15 year olds are smokers.

Formed in 1980, the organization has taken it upon itself to spread public awareness on the dangers associated with the habit and to encourage the society to tackle it.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, smoking accounts for six million deaths a year worldwide — mostly due to lung cancer. Smoking habits involve cigarettes, cigars, water pipe (hubbly bubbly) or chewing tobacco.

The society seeks to achieve its goals by several means, adopting international WHO standards in its approach, one of which is the recognition of the important date on the global calendar.

Smoking is already banned in public offices and commercial venues around Kuwait, and the head of the society, Anwar Burahma, says that the body is clear in its approach to identify the dangers behind the habit and to protect the rights of non-smokers.

He said that the numbers urge the body to take more action and to double its efforts, while people also have a role in acknowledging the problem and working to encourage others to kick the habit. It has formed what he called “specialised mobile clinics” including a group of staff that base themselves at popular locations like state institutions and malls, equipped with tools that identify the dangers of smoking.

Six months into their introduction, the numbers of under-18s that have quit smoking is 270 with 1,250 keen to quit, while some 420 over-30s have also quit.

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