Riyadh: The Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia on Friday urged smokers to take advantage of the holy month of Ramadan to quit smoking.
“The holy month of Ramadan is the best month for Muslims to quit smoking, Health Ministry Spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani told Arab News on Friday.
Al-Mirghalani explained that Ramadan creates a conducive environment for smokers to quit smoking since Muslims abstain from smoking from dawn to dusk.
He added that it would not be difficult for smokers to continue the abstention from tobacco between the period from breakfast and Suhoor (predawn meal).
Emphasizing the spiritual side of the holy month, the official said: "The hand that touches the holy Qur'an during the month, would definitely refuse to touch tobacco."
The spokesman said those interested in kicking the smoking habit can avail themselves of the facilities and expertise available at 44 anti-smoking clinics spread throughout the Kingdom. The clinics will remain open daily from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m during Ramadan.
There are 10 such clinics in Riyadh with one exclusively for women.
He said the ministry has organized several programs through its regional health directorates to combat smoking. These programs highlight the hazards of smoking and also give the Islamic interpretation on smoking.
“We are also reaching our target groups through social media channels,” to reach the maximum number of people in the Kingdom.
The Kingdom joined the anti-tobacco agreement in May 2005. Saudi Arabia ranks fourth in the world in tobacco imports and consumption. There are some 7 million smokers in the Kingdom which includes nearly 1.1 million women, according to a local study.
The Kingdom's total consumption of tobacco exceeds 40,000 tons, with a value of nearly SR12 billion ($3.2 billion), shows the study by the Khair Anti-smoking Association, a private company based in Makkah.