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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 27: Doctors and health officials have warned of the growing phenomenon of electronic smoking in society, stressing that specialized studies and research have proven that this type of smoking damages the brain and raises levels of depression among addicts, reports Al-Qabas daily. The General Secretariat of the Arab Union for the Prevention of Addiction, in cooperation with the Kuwaiti Society for the Prevention of Smoking and Cancer, organized a virtual workshop under the title “Smoking and Addiction and Their Relationship to Health”, where specialists unanimously agreed on what the results of studies have proven, that smoking is the main gateway to drugs. They added, that the smoking scourge is spreading among children and adolescents in Kuwait, at a rate of 28% for those between the ages of 13 and 15 years, and that 12% of them are girls who smoke on a daily basis.
The workshop, in which specialists from Kuwait and Egypt participated, was moderated by Dr. Hessa Al- Shaheen, a member of the Federation’s Board of Directors. She gave an overview of the Federation and its General Secretariat in Kuwait, and indicated that it had succeeded, since its inception in 1998, in achieving many of the items of its strategy, especially with regard to youth and adolescents of both sexes. For her part, the official in charge of the smoking cessation clinic at the Anti-Smoking and Cancer Society, Dr. Maryam Al-Otaibi, touched on the impact of electronic smoking on health, noting that the incidence of depression rises among electronic smokers at a rate of 2.4% more than non-smokers, explaining that electronic smoking is not a means to quit from traditional smoking, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
In turn, the consultant psychiatrist and vice-president of the International Psychological Association from Egypt, Dr. Muhammad Abu Al-Azaem, pointed out that the drug affects the feelings of the addict, causes his mood to fl uctuate, makes him withdrawn and isolated, and enters him into a state of depression, sadness and nervousness, indicating that the office concerned with combating drugs and crime. According to the United Nations, the death rate due to heroin alone has increased to 71% in the last ten years all over the world. The Secretary-General of the Arab Union for the Prevention of Addiction, Dr. Khaled Al-Saleh, said that tobacco addiction “is the largest cause of preventable deaths in the world.”
Dr Al-Saleh stated that the World Health Organization stated that there are more than one billion smokers around the world, and that more than one million people are expected to die in 2030 due to diseases caused by smoking, stressing the importance of introducing defensive behaviors into educational curricula, and using modern technologies in order to combat smoking, which is the gateway to addiction.
Workshop recommendations include developing drugs that help relieve the withdrawal symptoms of smokers and abusers, benefiting from modern technologies to reprogram the brain to avoid getting used to smoking, holding a permanent exhibition to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and drugs, as a reference for young people and adolescents and measuring the risks and benefits when choosing the techniques used in advertising to raise awareness of the harms of smoking and drugs. The participants thanked the Ministry of the Interior for its tireless efforts to limit the spread of drugs, and the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences for its contribution to supporting activities aimed at protecting society from dangerous pests, such as smoking and drugs.