The number of smokers in the country has been increasing at an alarming rate, especially among the youths and women, says Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Dr. Qais Al- Duwairi. Al-Duwairi made the statement in line with the Health Ministry’s announcement that the anti-smoking aspect of the Environmental Law will be implemented soon.
He disclosed 34 percent of male adults in Kuwait smoke compared to 1.4 percent of women, 25 percent of male adolescents and 8.5 percent of their female counterparts. He warned these figures signify serious danger on public health, indicating these percentages will continue to rise if there are no restrictions on smoking.
He confirmed the ministry has been working towards activating legal procedures, regulations and health legislation to combat smoking. He revealed the government will impose harsher penalties on individuals, institutions and utilities found to have violated the law. He explained the inspectors and security operatives armed with warrants of arrest will issue citations to people who smoke in prohibited areas. He said the ministry will soon collaborate with other ministries and relevant agencies to organize public awareness campaigns; which are aimed at informing the public on the places where smoking is permitted, penalties in case they violate the law and the dangers of smoking.
On the other hand, Chairman of the Health Consolidation Committee at the Capital Health District Dr. Adel Al-Tarkeet has advised those who intend to quit smoking to visit health clinics that will provide them with medicines to assist them in kicking the habit. He said these medicines will help smokers cope with the difficulties they will face once they decide to stop smoking.
He pointed out the holy month of Ramadan is a medically appropriate period for smokers to quit, if they are serious in doing so. He also stressed the need for self discipline to completely stop from smoking. In another development, the ministry has appointed about 1,200 Kuwaiti and expatriate doctors as general practitioners A and B in public hospitals based on the years of experience.
Chairman of Kuwait Medical Association Dr. Mohammad Al- Mutairi congratulated the doctors on their appointment which came after a long period of anticipation. He disclosed the appointment was made possible through a request submitted by the association to Undersecretary Dr. Khalid Al-Sahlawi. He lauded the undersecretary for taking this step and ensuring justice for these doctors.